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Vietnam Today

HCMC opposes $5bn Long An thermal power plant

Released at: 16:00, 15/03/2017

HCMC opposes $5bn Long An thermal power plant

Photo: Mong Duong thermal power plan

Plans for Long An plant meet opposition in HCMC, which shares a border with the Mekong Delta province, due to pollution concerns.

by Quynh Nguyen

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) is planning to build a $5 billion thermal power plant in the Mekong Delta’s Long An province, which borders Ho Chi Minh City’s Can Gio district, sparking concerns in the city about environmental pollution.

The project is now in the research and site selection stage and the center is expected to come into operation in 2024 and resolve power shortages in the southern region.

According to calculations by the consultancy unit, the coal supply for the thermal power plant is expected to reach nearly 10 million tons per year. Coal will come from Australia and Indonesia to Long An province along the Soai Rap River, which has been upgraded to cater to ships of 70,000 tons.

The proposed location for the thermal power plant is in Phuoc Vinh Dong commune in Can Giuoc district.

The Ministry of Transport has also supported the construction of the Vinh Tan electricity center in Phuoc Vinh Dong commune as it is the only location capable of receiving ships of up to 50,000 tons. The General Department of Energy also agreed to build the Long An thermal power plant.  

Ho Chi Minh City, however, has opposed the building of the thermal power plant due to environmental pollution concerns, especially at the Hiep Phuoc Port urban area, which is to be a Grade 1 urban area and a driver of socioeconomic development in the city.

The planning for the thermal power plan comes as the development of 800MW of wind power by 2020 may miss the target.

MoIT reported last November that plans for the wind power project had been submitted to the government and were expected to be approved by the end of the year or no later than January. A decision, however, is still to be made.

“The renewable power price was expected to increase in December but the continued delays by the government have disappointed international sponsors,” Mr. Bui Van Thinh, Chairman of the Binh Thuan Wind Power Association, told local media. “We have proposed increasing the price to 9.5 cent per kWh many times and hope it will be approved this quarter.”

Vietnam’s electricity demand is expected to continue to grow 13 per cent annually over the next four years due to its rapidly-expanding economy, which has grown above 5 per cent on average per year since 1999 and is forecast to reach 6.5-7 per cent in the next four years. 

The country now depends on thermal and hydropower for almost all of its electricity demand, while wind power has only contributed 0.3 per cent, according to a recent article from the State-owned Electricity of Vietnam.

Thermal power plants make up more than half of total generation, of which coal-fired plants account for 34 per cent. Investors have committed to more than 45 wind power projects generating more than 4,800MW in total, but most remain on the drawing board. Binh Thuan alone has 16 such projects.

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