A Chinese state-owned nuclear power company has signed a deal to build a renewable energy base in neighbouring Laos.
China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) has signed an agreement with the government of Laos to develop a project including wind, solar, hydro and energy storage capabilities, Reuters reports, citing a company announcement.
The base will reportedly feed into an existing power line that sends power generated in Laos to China’s neighbouring Yunnan province, with a second line now planned. It is unclear what proportion of power generated at the base will be sent to China.
CGN and Laos had signed a memorandum of understanding for the project, the planned power output of which is not specified, last year.
The poor, small, landlocked southeast Asian country is a member of China’s Belt and Road initiative. Chinese companies had reportedly as of last year invested over $16bn in Laos.
In 2020, amid financial pressure, Laos sold off a majority stake in its electric grid to state-owned China Southern Power Grid Co.
News of the new renewable energy base comes amid concern in Europe about China’s expansionist ambitions for its wind energy sector. OEM Sany wants to sell supersized onshore turbines in Europe, with Norwegian developer Statkraft refusing to rule out buying Chinese machines for future projects.
The head of Europe’s main wind industry group, WindEurope, warned project developers to think about the “long-term implications” before being “tempted” by cheap Chinese wind turbines that he claimed are being offered with unfair subsidies and could be a security threat.