Red River mega project faces strong opposition
  • | | May 06, 2016 01:19 AM

A project to build a canal and several hydropower plants on the Red River in Hanoi has been met with concerns due to the risk to local agriculture.


Mega project proposed to be built on Red River

Xuan Thien Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Vietnam’s Thai Group, proposed to open a canal and build six hydropower plants on the Red River, which flows through nearly ten northern provinces.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment already gave its support to the project and is seeking permission from the prime minister.

Tran Dinh Long, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Power Association, said the Laotian and Chinese hydropower plants upstream of the Mekong River have affected the lives of millions of people in the Mekong Delta so they should not touch the Red River as the power plants will affect the alluvium, water flow and may cause salt water intrusion.

"The Red River Delta is one of Vietnam's most important rice granaries and the river has thousands of years of cultural value. I think five to seven hydropower plants that have capacity of just some hundreds of MW each aren’t going to make much of the contribution to our network. Can these plants appease our thirst for energy while we still can exploit solar and wind power?" he said.

He went on to say that the estimated cost was VND24.5bn (USD1bn) but the investors could only cover 30 percent of the cost and had to borrow the rest. This could lead to bad results with ship owners are forced to pay high fees at ports, especially when this is a build, own and operate project, the investors can use the projects on the Red River indefinitely.

"A BOO project is too dangerous and not appropriate because this project will have a huge impact on our future," he said.

Nguy Thi Khanh, director of GreenID, the green development centre, added that the project would destroy the sediment that has formed over thousands of years.

Tran Viet Ngai, chairman of Vietnam Power Association, said there were many questions need to be answered before carrying out the project. "Is it really urgent? What'll happen if we don't build the plants there? Is this project meant to develop a canal or hydropower plants?" he said.

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