The Ministry of Industry and Trade removed 471 hydropower plant projects from its power development plan after reviewing the plan in accordance with a National Assembly resolution passed in 2013.
Hundreds of small hydropower plant projects are stopped after the Ministry of Industry and Trade and localities review power plants in the last three years. (Photo: chinhphu.vn)
According to the ministry and the people’s committees of provinces nationwide, the projects are mostly small hydropower plants which require huge area of land, are difficult to connect to the national grid and fail to attract investors.
Relevant authorities were asked to carefully examine and assess hydropower project proposals to reject unqualified ones, particularly those that fail to meet environmental and social requirements.
In August 2016, the ministry asked the people’s committees in the five Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Lam Dong and neighbouring provinces, including Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa, to review hydropower plant projects with regard to their impact on forest land.
Any project that likely leaves a negative impact on forest land was stopped.
Investors of hydropower plants whose construction or operation influenced forest land are required to grow alternative forest cover and pay forest environment service fees as committed.
If not, such plants would be stopped as well.
The ministry also asked localities to tighten overseeing the construction of hydro power plants, so that roads that were supposed to serve construction would not be used to transport illegally-logged timber.
According to the ministry, 306 hydropower plants are operating across the country, with total designed capacity of over 15, 474 MW. Construction of another 193 plants, with capacity of more than 5,662 MW, is ongoing. Some 254 projects (over 3,000 MW) are being studied for investment and 59 projects (421 MW) are being reviewed.