Options Under Water

Laos' Quaintly-titled Vice Minister for Industry and Handicrafts sits in his office in Vientiane and allows himself to dream. From his desk, Nam Viyaketh points to a map of the country pinned on the far wall. It's dotted with dozens of red spots, each a potential site for a hydroelectric dam. Within 30 years, says Nam, Laos could have a generation capaciy of 12,000 MW of electricity (it currently has a production capacity of 700 MW) and exporting it to energy-hungry neighbors like Thailand and China, generating billions of dollars in revenue. "We can be like Kuwait," he says. "Kuwait pumps...

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