Developing small-scale hydropower is a big mistake: experts

Last update 07:50 | 19/06/2017
VietNamNet Bridge – As requested by the National Assembly, in 2013 the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) decided to remove 400 small-scale hydropower projects out of the hydropower development program. But many projects were then carried out in the mountainous provinces of Ha Giang and Cao Bang.

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In other countries, small-scale hydropower plants with capacity of several megawatts which serve a small number of households are located in areas far from the national grid. The don’t interfere with agricultural production.

Twenty years ago, Vietnam was thirsty for capital and power and called for investments in the power sector from different sources.

As requested by the National Assembly, in 2013 the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) decided to remove 400 small-scale hydropower projects out of the hydropower development program.

In the first years of the 21st century, thousands of hydropower projects were approved, designed and executed on thousands of rivers and streams.

Many projects were still on paper, but the supporting works were completed: the forests were felled to create roads to the sites and agricultural land was taken back to make room for the project.

As the people’s lives were upset, scientists and local authorities reported the problems to the National Assembly. The government in 2013 submitted to the National Assembly a list of small-scale hydropower projects to be removed from the hydropower development plan.

The projects encroached on special-use forests and precious mineral mines, occupying large agricultural land area. Most of them had capacity of less than 5 MW.

According to Vu Trong Hong, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, the total electricity output provided by small-scale hydropower plants to the national grid is just 10 percent.

The total volume of electricity contributed by thousands of small-scale power plants is just equal to that churned out by the medium-scale 259 MW Se San 3 on Se San River.

To implement the projects, hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest and millions of agricultural land plots would be lost. Moreover, local people will no longer be able to earn their living on streams.

Many farmers complain that they do not get any benefits from the water discharging from hydropower plants. In daytime, when they work in rice fields, they cannot receive water from hydropower reservoirs. The water only comes in the evening after they have gone home.

Hong told local press that the national development strategy’s biggest blunder is the development of small-scale hydropower. The strategy has caused negative consequences to agricultural production.


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Thien Nhien

This entry was posted in Môi trường - Environment, Đập thủy điện - Dams and tagged , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development ( I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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