Vietnam halts 18 hydropower plant projects

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Authorities in the central province of Quang Nam have announced that the central government has ratified a proposal to suspend 18 hydropower plant projects.

District-level authorities had proposed that the Quang Nam's People Committee halt these projects due to the insufficient financial capacity of the investors and possible adverse impacts on the environment and local residents.

Such projects include A Vuong 3-5, Nuoc Buou, Nuoc Xa, A Banh, Dak Pring, Dak Ring 2, Cha Val, Song Bung 3, Song Bung 3A, Nuoc Bieu, Dak Di 1, Dak Di 2, Dak Di 4, Nuoc Che, Tra Linh 2 and Tam Phuc.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also ratified a proposal to cancel two other projects, Ha Ra and Bong Mieu.

Earlier, Quang Nam had proposed building 71 small hydropower plants in five districts with a total capacity of 24.73 megawatts (MW) per the recommendations of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Power Department, in order to supply electricity to local mountainous areas.

According to the Quang Nam Department of Industry and Trade, the province has a total 44 approved hydropower projects with a capacity of 1,584 MW and projected annual earnings of VND6.2 billion (US$292,000).

Excessive development of electricity has seriously affected the environment and forced many local residents to be relocated.

Thirty three projects, either completed or under construction, have forced nearly 15,000 people to resettle, including 1,000 households to make way for the Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Project.

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Nguyen Quang Thu, director of Quang Nam Department of Industry and Trade, said most relocated residents were not issued sufficient land for agriculture production and they have had to stay in rapidly-degrading houses built by the projects' investors..

On July 3, Electricity of Vietnam said it had hired foreign experts to consult on the impact of earthquakes alleged to have been caused by on Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant, which has been found to have leaks and is located on a fault line.

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