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Laos’ Power Grid Strained by Bitcoin Mining and Drought


Laos, known as the “battery of Southeast Asia” for its extensive hydropower capacity, is facing a power crisis due to the surge in demand from bitcoin mining and a prolonged drought. According to a Reuters report, the country’s power grid is under strain, with the state-run utility, Electricite Du Laos (EDL), importing more electricity to meet demand, significantly increasing costs.

Somboun Sangxayarath, an advisor at EDL, noted that the country has been importing more electricity to meet demand, which has raised costs for the state-run utility. The report also mentions that Laos is working to increase its hydropower capacity by 720 megawatts by the end of next year and aims to diversify its energy sources.

To mitigate the effects of erratic rainfall, the government plans to boost the share of non-hydro generation to 30% by 2025, up from the current 20%. This move is aimed at reducing the country’s reliance on hydropower and increasing its energy security.

Laos has been experiencing a trend of crypto mining activities, which began gaining significant traction in 2021. The surge in demand from bitcoin mining has put a significant strain on the country’s power grid, with some reports suggesting that it uses more than a third of the nation’s power.

The country has also been experiencing a prolonged drought, which has further exacerbated the power crisis. According to the report, there has been a threefold increase in extreme rainfall events (over 150 mm in a single day) in Laos since the 1950s.

The government is working to address the power crisis by increasing the share of non-hydro generation and diversifying its energy sources. The country aims to increase its non-hydro generation capacity to 30% by 2025, which will help reduce its reliance on hydropower and increase its energy security.



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