Central hydro-power projects to be inspected
HCM CITY — The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment this year will conduct inspections on hydro-power projects in 22 provinces and cities in the central region of the country.
The inspection aims to improve State management of land, natural resources and hydrometeorology activities in relation to hydro-power projects.
Inspectors have been asked to hand out strict penalties to violators of regulations, under to a decision signed by deputy minister Chu Pham Ngoc Hien on Friday.
Hydro-projects in the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Dak Nong, Dak Lak and Lam Dong will undergo ministry's inspections on land, environment, water resources and hydrometeorology issues between June and October.
Meanwhile, the provincial departments of Natural Resources and Environment will conduct inspections on hydro-projects in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien – Hue, Da Nang, Binh Phuoc, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan and Khanh Hoa.
Reports on these inspections will be sent to the ministry after they are completed.
Agencies will propose measures based on inspection results, including amending regulations on environmental protection and using natural resources in hydro-power development.
The inspections were done after the public raised concerns about the serious social and environmental impact caused by the hydro-power projects.
Last year the Department of Industry and Trade of Quang Nam Province asked the provincial authority of Quang Nam and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to scrap six long-delayed, environmentally harmful hydropower projects.
The northern province of Lao Cai and the central province of Khanh Hoa also requested the ministry to consider doing away with 17 hydro-power projects for the social and environmental problems it could cause to the localities.
According to figures from the trade and industry ministry's Energy Department, a hydro-power project needs around 9 ha of land for each megawatt of power, including 2.4 ha of forest land.
As of July 2011, Viet Nam had some 890 small- and medium-sized hydropower projects approved under the country's master plan for hydropower development with a total generation capacity of 5,900 MW.
However, the number of operational projects and those under construction now is around 100, with a total capacity of 600 MW.
At the moment, power generated by hydropower plants is sold to Electricity of Viet Nam Corporation (EVN) at around four US cents per kWh. — VNS