Wind farm to turn arid land into town

After over one year under construction, the wind power project in Tuy Phong District, Binh Thuan Province, will be hooked up to the national electricity grid this month. The largest wind energy project SE Asia, once in operation, is expected to help boost regional socio-economic development and pave the way for further exploitation of renewable energy sources in the country.

Located on Highway 1A, the section running through Binh Thanh Commune, the Wind Power Plant 1 is about 300 meters from the coast. This is an arid area usually short in rainfall but abundant in wind.

Once the installation of the five first wind turbines is complete, the investor, Vietnam Renewable Energy (REVN), will have seven others installed. The entire project is expected to produce a total capacity of 18 mega watts in the first phase.

Every wind turbine weighs 78 tons, are built on towers 85 meters in height with three 37.5 - meter long blades. The average capacity of each turbine is 1.5 mega watts.

All the technology and equipment are imported from Germany.

A view of the wind farm in Tuy Phong District, Binh Thuan Province (Photo: SGGP)

According to the chairman of Tuy Phong District, Han Dac Thuan, the investment for the first phase is estimated to exceed VND817 billion. In the second and third phases, the wind farm will be expanded to accommodate a further 80 turbines. The project is planned to be completed in 2011 and cost over VND2 trillion once finished.

A lever for boosting regional economic development

Although covering a large area of land, the project in the commune, according to Mr Thuan, is built mostly on deserted land. “It doesn’t occupy any fertile agricultural land at all, but provides jobs and services to local people,” he said.

Mr Thuan cited an example that of all 1,500 hectares of land reserved for wind energy projects in the region, the Wind Power Plant 1 occupies just 150 hectares. Only 20 percent of the used land is located on agricultural land, which has been left unused for years because nothing can grow on it.

The project initially raised public concern about noise pollution, but Mr Thuan said, “Modern technology helps produce modern large turbines with low sound at ground level. Standing next to a large turbine turning in a strong breeze, the sound you will hear is not much louder than the wind blowing in the trees. Even at a wind farm consisting of dozens of turbines, the audible noise level is usually much less than that of roadway traffic.”

Mr Thuan emphasized that the project, if exploited appropriately, will not only supply another useful form of energy to the country, but also help boost the regional socio-economic development.

He pointed out that once the wind farm is complete, dozens of wind farms under project 2 will be built to supply more power to the region. Thanks to an adequate source of power supply, the region will then be able to develop its tourism industry.

According to Tuy Phong’s socio-economic development plans for the period between 2015 and 2020, Binh Thanh Commune is to extend its area to transform it from a tourism zone into a tourist city, where visitors can come and stay to enjoy the beaches and the landscape in the region.

At present in Binh Thuan Province, 10 investors are investing in 12 wind farms with a total capacity of over 2,000 mega watts.  

By Staff writers – Translated by Phuong Lan

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