167 hydropower plants in central Vietnam eliminated

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167 hydropower projects in the Central Highlands have been canceled. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VIETNAM NEWS AGENGY

Provinces in the Central Highlands have canceled 167 of 418 small hydroelectric power projects for their delays and negative impact on the environment.

The cancelations were announced February 10 by the Hydro Power Department of the General Department of Energy at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

According to a report posted on the government website the same day, 117 projects with a total capacity of 337.16 megawatts had been canceled by Central Highlands provinces while 50 more with a total capacity of 280.2 MW were canceled in towns neighboring those provinces.

Most of the canceled projects were in Lam Dong Province (40 projects with a total capacity of 105 megawatts), Kon Tum Province (34 projects with capacity of 114 MW) and Quang Nam Province bordering the Central Highlands (22 projects with capacity of 142.1 MW).

The Central Highlands Steering Committee said the region's plan to develop hydropower plants had some shortcomings in terms of  protecting local residents and the environment.

Specifically, 80,000 hectares of land in the area have been used for building hydropower plants and nearly 26,000 households have been affected.

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Now hundreds of households in the area near those plants have still not been compensated while traffic and social welfare projects have not come to fruition, causing difficulties for local people.

Reforestation is being carried out very slowly, according to the committee.

So far only 757 hectares of trees have been grown while 22,770 hectares of forest in the area have been lost.

The Central Highlands and immediate surrounding areas are home to 118 finished hydropower projects with a total capacity of 5,789 MW and while 75 others are under construction.

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