U.S. Water News Online
HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnam's government has scaled down
plans for a massive hydropower dam project that lawmakers criticized
for being possibly unsafe, too expensive and displacing too many
people, an official said.
The smaller dam will still cost between $2.6 billion and $2.7
billion and force up to 91,000 people from their homes, said Vu Duc
Thin of state-owned Electricity of Vietnam Corp.
The proposed 2,400-megawatt dam must still be approved by the
National Assembly. In an unusual display of independence in March,
lawmakers postponed a vote on the communist government's original
design because of safety concerns, cost and the displacement of many
people, including hill tribe members.
The proposed dam is to be located in an earthquake-prone region.
It will create a 705-feet deep lake that will submerge 224 86 square
miles of land, forcing the relocation of between 72,000 and 91,000
people, Thin said.
The original design would have formed an 870-feet deep lake and
forced up to 100,000 people from their homes.
In a recent meeting, the government selected the smaller design
because of safety reasons and the lower number of displaced people,
Construction is due to start in 2005, with 70 percent of the
funding from domestic sources and the remainder from foreign loans,
Thin said. The dam is to be in Muong La district of Son La province,
210 miles east of Hanoi.
Consumption of electricity in Vietnam has grown by an average of
14 percent to 15 percent per year in recent years.
Electricity of Vietnam plans to build 37 new power plants,
including 22 hydropower plants, costing $19.1 billion over the next
seven years to meet the country's growing energy needs.
Vietnam currently has 14 power plants with a combined capacity of
8,000 megawatts, including eight hydropower plants which generate
about 52 percent of the total.
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