Vietnam releases mixed dam audit

By Anh Minh   October 23, 2016 | 01:48 am PT
Vietnam releases mixed dam audit
A hydropower dam discharges water in Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Tri Tin
Experts bin hundreds of small proposed hydropower dams while approving hundreds more.

Vietnam concluded a three-year audit that ended hundreds of hydropower projects and green-lighted hundreds more. 

A recent government report said 471 small hydropower projects designed to produce less than 30 megawatts (MW) have been scrapped after determining the minor grid gains weren't worth the environmental costs.

Government auditors determined the minor economic benefits weren't worth the impact on rural communities and forest resources; 59 other small projects remain under review.

According to the report, the country has licensed a total of 475 hydropower projects and is currently building 355, many of which will yield less than 30MW.

The country currently operates 306 hydropower plants that produce a total of 15,474 MW or about 40 percent of the country's total power output. Experts agree there's very little potential left to tap. 

According to a Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's report, Vietnam cleared 37,000 hectares of forest to make way for hydropower plants and roads between 2010 and 2014.

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