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Electricity in Laos in 2021

Global Ranking: #17
73.0% #35 Low-carbon electricity
614.51 watts #60 Generation / person
242.45 gCO2eq/kWh #47 Carbon Intensity
None Electricity imports

As per the data of 2021, Laos's electricity consumption prominently features low-carbon sources, making up to approximately 73% of the total consumption. This is largely contributed by hydropower at over 71%, with a minor contribution from biofuels and a negligible proportion from solar energy. On the other hand, the remaining quarter of electricity consumption is accounted for by fossil energy, entirely sourced from coal. It is noteworthy that Laos is self-sufficient in terms of electricity as it neither imports nor exports electricity from or to other countries or regions.


In a bid to further the use of low-carbon electricity, Laos can take cues from various countries that have successful models of clean energy generation. For instance, France, Ukraine, and Slovakia have all managed to have nuclear power contribute to over half of their electricity generation. Given that Laos shares geographical similarities with countries like these, it may explore investing more in nuclear energy. Another area that Laos could tap into is wind energy, seeing the success of countries like Denmark and Ireland where wind energy makes up for a substantial amount of the electricity generation. Additionally, considering the solar contribution is currently minimal in Laos, they could also learn from countries like Chile and Yemen, where solar energy contributes to nearly a sixth of the total electricity generated.


The history of low-carbon electricity in Laos has primarily been driven by hydropower, with data showing its inception in 1987. However, the initial years witnessed several fluctuations in output, which was followed by a steady increase in the turn of the millennium. Despite relatively low outputs in 2003 and later in 2009, a significant jump was recorded in 2010 wherein electricity generated from hydropower increased by 5 TWh from previous year, followed by further increments in 2011. While some disturbances were encountered in terms of negative changes in 2014 and 2015, a strong recovery was observed in the subsequent years, peaking at an 8.8 TWh increase in 2020. During the recent years, a minor add-on was recorded in the form of biofuels in 2018, thus indicating Laos’s efforts towards diversification of low-carbon energy sources.

Data Sources

For the years 1980 to 1989 the data sources are EIA and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1990 to 1999 the data sources are EIA and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 2000 to 2015 the data source is Ember.
For the year 2016 the data source is IEA.
For the years 2017 to 2021 the data source is Ember.