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Ministry assesses hydro power plants

Update: August, 08/2014 - 08:44
According to reports by 36 provinces that use hydro power plants, nearly 20 per cent of the dams at plants with capacities of more than 30MW were not examined.— Photo baoquangngai

HA NOI (VNS) — Stricter management over hydro power plants would benefit the public, the environment and economic development, said Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang.

Hoang made the statement at a conference on hydro power plants on Wednesday, vowing that the ministry would strengthen its oversight over the construction and operation of hydro power plants across the country. He also said that violations would be met with strict penalties.

In the last six months, the ministry has assessed all of its hydro power plants nationwide following a Government resolution. There are 284 operational hydro power plants across the country, with 204 plants are under construction and 250 projects being considered for investment.

The ministry has axed 12 small hydro power plant projects following assessments that showed low rates of cost efficiency, negative impacts on the environment and non-compliant investors.

Head of the ministry's General Department of Energy, Dang Huy Cuong, said that many problems had been discovered at hydro power plants nationwide.

According to reports by 36 provinces that use hydro power plants, nearly 20 per cent of the dams at plants with capacities of more than 30MW were not examined.

Nearly half of 154 dams at plants with capacities of less than 30 MW were not examined neither.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, with the exception of reservoirs at hydropower plants on Hong and Ma River, those located on the basins of other rivers were not designed to store water to prevent floods for lower areas.

The dam at Ia Krel 2 hydro-power plant on Po Co River in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai broke for the second time. — Photo vtc

"Hydro power plant reservoirs just help reduce floods," said the head of the ministry's General Department of Energy, Chau Tran Vinh.

He said that extra funding was needed to take measures to reduce flooding, which was affecting power generating activities.

Vice chairman of northern Lai Chau Province's People's Committee, Le Trong Quang, said that to ensure safety for people living in areas below hydro power plants, modern warning systems were needed to alert residents when the plants released water.

Chairman of northern Cao Bang Province People's Committee Nguyen Hoang An said that localities faced challenges in selecting investors for small hydro power plant projects because they did not have the necessary expertise and experience.

The dam breakage at Ia Krel 2 Hydro power Plant in Central Highlands province of Gia Lai last week saw plant investor Bao Long Gia Lai Industries and Hydropower Joint Stock Company advised to build the dam during dry season between April and June. That advice was ignored.

Minister Hoang said that some investors even altered the technical designs for the construction of plants without reporting to authorised agencies.

Hoang also urged localities to closely monitor the operation of reservoirs.

Previously, reservoir owners had the power to decide when to store or release water at reservoirs. Now, the chairman of provincial People's Committee can decide the exact time and volume of water released from plant reservoirs. — VNS

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