VIENTIANE， Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Laos is expected to expand its export markets of electricity to Malaysia and Singapore， according to the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines.
The Lao government is launching the first phase of a pilot project to sell 100MW of electricity to Malaysia via Thailand's national grid by September 2017， Daovong Phonekeo， the ministry's office head was quoted by state-run Vientiane Times on Sunday.
In addition， Laos will also export another 100MW of power to Singapore via Thailand and Malaysia's network by 2020 as the second phase. Daovong said the ministry is preparing documents that would speed up talks with authorities of Thailand and Malaysia in March， to negotiate prices and the electricity transmission process.
The export of electricity to Malaysia was part of a pilot project， said the official， adding that Laos will assess its benefits and challenges with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and looks forward to trading electricity collectively.
At present， Laos sells its electricity mainly to Thailand， Cambodia and Vietnam. Thailand is the main market， requiring up to 10，000MW， while Vietnam buys 5，000MW.
The abundant resources of the Mekong River and its tributaries give Laos the potential to produce more than 25，000MW of electricity. Laos currently has 42 operational power plants with an installed capacity of 6，391MW， which generate about 33，822.4GWh annually.
The number of power plants will increase from 42 to 50 as the government and private energy developers try to complete the construction of new power plants which will generate electricity this year.
The 50 power plants will be able to generate about 30 billion kWh， of which 21.1 billion kWh will be exported and the rest will be supplied to the local grid.
Laos is aiming for a total installed capacity of about 12，000MW by 2025.