Quang Nam to convert forests into hydropower plant, urban area

By Dac Thanh   March 23, 2021 | 08:30 am GMT+7
Quang Nam to convert forests into hydropower plant, urban area
Nearly 34 ha of planted forests in Quang Nam are to be cleared for the construction of the Song Tranh 4 hydropower plant. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh.
Central Quang Nam Province has approved the conversion of nearly 35 hectares of forests into a hydropower plant and new urban area.

Specifically, 33.7 hectares of planted forests would be cleared for the construction of the Song Tranh 4 hydropower plant, while 1.1 hectares of a mangrove palm forest in Hoi An would be converted into an urban area, the provincial People's Council said last week.

The Song Tranh 4 hydropower plant project, spanning Hiep Duc and Tien Phuoc districts, was approved by the provincial People's Committee in 2010. It is projected to have a capacity of 48 MW, capable of producing around 178 kWh a year on average.

The palm forest, in Cam Thanh Commune of Hoi An, would be converted into houses for the Con Tien urban area, which spans over 311,000 square meters with a total investment of VND518 billion ($22.4 million) and would have a population of around 2,000. The project was approved in 2016.

Provincial authorities said the forest conversion would not affect provincial forest coverage. Quang Nam had aimed for forest coverage of 54 percent in 2020, though the current rate has surpassed 59 percent, with around 628,570 hectares in total, including 466,110 hectares of natural forests.

Quang Nam, which suffered from a series of floods and landslides last year that killed at least 43 residents and incurred damage of nearly VND11 trillion ($480 million), stated in January it would suspend hydropower plant projects deemed to pose environmental threats.

According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, dam projects have made it easier for the province to access funding for related infrastructure projects like roads, schools and the supply of water and electricity, creating jobs for locals and improving their living standards. But the department admitted several hydropower plants located in mountainous areas have damaged forest land to greater or lesser extents.

As of 2018, Vietnam had 385 hydropower projects in operation and another 143 under construction, according to state-owned power utility Vietnam Electricity.

 
 
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