Mekong Utility Watch

High dam chosen for Son La hydropower plant

Saigon Times
February 16, 2001

The Government has decided to develop the Son La Hydroelectric Plant with a high rather than low dam, said a senior official of Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the Ministry of Industry has confirmed the information. According to this plan, the facility will have a total capacity of 3,600MW.

The plan was selected after the Government held a meeting in HCMC in early February to discuss this mega-project. The Government has submitted it to the Party’s Politburo for approval.

Ministry of Planning and Investment figures show that the Government plan will be more viable in terms of electricity output than other plans to build a 2,400MW plant or a small plant in Son La in conjunction with another in Lai Chau.

It can also control floods and regulate irrigation in downstream areas more effectively than the other two plans. Son La’s reservoir will hold a total of 25 billion cubic meters of water. Together with the Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant reservoir, the water volume will total 36 billion cubic meters, enough to meet the demand in downstream areas for a long time.

However, the plan for the 3,600MW facility has shown a number of flaws, such as covering a vaster area of land than the two other plans.

The reservoir is estimated to cover 44,701 hectares of land, double that required by the plan for the 2,400MW plant. Therefore, 96,396 people will be affected compared to 72,238 for the latter. The high-dam power plant will need a total investment of VND70,575 billion, VND26,000 billion higher than that with a lower dam.

Categories: Mekong Utility Watch

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