Hydropower, an engine of socioeconomic development

09:12 | 21/11/2017 Energy

(VEN) - Hydropower plants not only contribute to generating electricity supply, but also create resources for local socioeconomic development.

hydropower an engine of socioeconomic development

Flood control, emissions benefits

The planning of medium to small-sized hydropower plants for the safe, efficient and sustainable development of renewable energy was the focus of discussions at a seminar held in Hanoi, last month.

Participants noted that Vietnam’s hydropower plants have made great contributions to the economic development process in more than 30 years of innovation. It is one of the three main energy sources meeting the national power demand, serving socio-economic development in many localities, especially in disadvantaged regions.

Hydropower plants benefit environmental protection and emission reduction. The amount of greenhouse gases generated by hydropower plants is 10 times lower than that of combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants and 25 times lower than that of coal-fired power plants.

Hydropower plants have also contributed to reducing floods for downstream areas in the rainy season and supplying water for irrigation. Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang and Thac Ba hydropower reservoirs have provided several billion cubic meters of water for irrigation for more than 600,000ha of agricultural land in the Red River Delta and the northern midland and mountainous region. In addition, hydropower reservoirs in central Vietnam and the Central Highlands, such as Da Nhim, Ialy, Song Tranh, Song Bung and Dong Nai have regulated numerous billions of cubic meters of water for production of rice, cash crops, coffee and cocoa, as well as prevented drought and water salinity for downstream areas.

In addition to these benefits, hydropower plants have made significant contributions to local economic development. For example, the Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant has paid VND900-1,200 billion into the local budget, equivalent to 50 percent of total budget revenue of Hoa Binh Province, while the Son La Hydropower Plant has paid more than VND1 trillion a year into the local budget.

Nguyen Thanh Cong, secretary of Muong La District Party Committee in Son La Province, said small and medium-sized hydropower plants in the district have made significant contributions to increasing local budget revenue. They have channeled VND88.6 billion in 2016 and VND50.8 billion in the first eight months of this year to local budgets.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said the country targets total installed capacity of 21,600MW by 2020, 24,600MW by 2025 and 27,800MW by 2030 from hydropower plants. Currently, most of the rivers and streams have been surveyed at 824 hydropower projects for a total capacity of 24,778MW.

“Hydropower plants have contributed significantly to ensuring national energy security - about 44 percent of capacity and nearly 40 percent of electricity output in 2016 - creating more jobs and increasing incomes for local people,” Hoang Quoc Vuong said.

Safety and efficiency

To ensure sustainable development of small and medium-sized hydropower plants, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has asked people’s committees in various provinces across the country to review and evaluate hydropower plants, including projects in operation, construction or investment research, and scrap economically inefficient and environmentally damaging ones.

The provinces are Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Lam Dong, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Industrial Safety Techniques and Environment Agency continues to strengthen maintenance of equipment, especially for hydropower plants in Central Vietnam and the Central Highlands, to ensure safe operation of small and medium-sized hydropower dams and lakes.

In addition, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and ministries, departments and localities will continue to improve the effectiveness of reviewing and evaluating hydropower plants in accordance with the requirements set out in the National Assembly’s Resolution 62 and Governmental Decision 11. These measures include intensifying inspection and supervision of the implementation of legal provisions in ensuring dam safety and protecting the environment.

Hydropower continues to play a particularly important role in socioeconomic development.

Chu Dan