Construction of the US$1.8 billion Lai Chau Hydropower Plant started January 5.
Located in Muong Te District's Nam Hang Commune, the 1,200 MW plant is the third largest of its kind in the country, after Hoa Binh and Son La. All three plants are on the Da River.
Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the nation's sole power distributor, has a 20 percent investment in the project.
EVN is also responsible for construction of the plant, resettlement of local inhabitants and the development of infrastructure for the project.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged EVN to monitor the progress, quality and efficiency of the project.
Once operational in 2017, the plant is expected to generate 4.67 billion kWh of electricity per year.
On the same day, PetroVietnam held a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Long Phu 1 thermoelectric power plant in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong.
Spread over an area of 115 hectares, the $1.2 billion and 1,200 MW plant is expected to be completed in 2015.