Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A Hydropower Plants: Solution Needed For Benefit Harmonisation

8:39:59 PM | 27/11/2012

Duc Long Gia Lai Group recently organised a press conference to announce information about the two projects of Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A hydropower plants (135MW and 106MW, respectively). In an interview with the Vietnam Business Forum, Mr Bui Phap, Chairman of Board of Management of Duc Long Gia Lai Group, said that “After the serious incident at Song Tranh 2 Hydropower Plant, the Group has taken thorough consideration and conducted research with a view to minimising possible damages once the projects have been put into operation.” Anh Phuong reports.
Could you give more detail about the development process of these two projects?
Dong Nai 6 hydropower ladder was approved in the master plan for hydropower ladder on the Dong Nai River under Document No. 1483/CP-CN dated 19 November 2002 by the Prime Minister. The capacity is 180 MW, average electricity output per annum, 773.6 million KWH, the height of the largest dam, 98 meters, the whole capacity of the reservoir, 683 million cubic metres and the area flooded by the reservoir, 1,954 hectares (732 hectares of which are of Cat Tien National Park and 1,222 hectares of which, protective forests of Dak Nong and Binh Phuoc provinces). When implemented, 33 households had to evacuate and three projects were moved.
Since July 2007, with the permission of the Prime Minister, People’s Committees of Lam Dong, Dak Nong and Binh Phuoc provinces, Duc Long Gia Lai Group started to research and contracted Power Engineering Consulting Joint Stock Company No.1 (PECC1) to conduct surveys and develop Investment Report. In August 2009, the Group contracted PECC4 to develop investment project, Southern Institute of Water Resources Planning and Institute of Natural Resources and Environment under the Ho Chi Minh City National University to conduct the environmental impact assessment report for this project.
On the basis of planning hydropower ladder on Dong Nai river in 2002 and with a view to assessing hydroelectricity potential as well as minimising land occupation, it was proposed that the Dong Nai hydropower ladder No. 6 be divided into two sub-ladders. Total capacity of the two projects is 241MW; total electricity output per annum, 929.16 million kWh; increased output, 61MW. The additional output is 155.56 million kWh compared to the planning option in 2002. Moreover, total occupied area of the two projects is reduced to 372.23 hectares (a reduction of 1,581.77 hectares).
How about the geographic location of the two power plants?
It can be said that the two projects are located on the middle stream of the Dong Nai river and to the North of Cat Loc – Cat Tien National Park. An important factor lies in the fact that all major works serving implementation of the projects are located out of Cat Tien National Park.
What are the competitive advantages of these two plants against other hydropower plants across our country?
As calculated, these two projects have the smallest lake surface area. On average, while the surface area needed for production of 1MW at other hydroelectricity plants is 20.66ha/MW and even 80.85ha/MW (at Tri An plant) or 72.67ha/MW (at Thac Mo plant), the rates at Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A are just 2,18ha/MW and 2.44ha/MW, respectively, which is ten times smaller than the average rate and 37 times less than that of Tri An plant. From above figures, it can be seen that these two projects select a small reservoir scale and land occupation rate compared to those of other hydropower plants. This is an important condition in order to minimise adverse impacts on the environment, particularly the Cat Tien National Park.
Besides, the land occupied by the projects is neither farming area nor residence of local people. Therefore, no compensation budget is needed. This advantage is nearly non-existent in other projects of the same type across Vietnam. Another advantage is the low selling price of electricity generated by these projects, just 4.4 US cents. In comparison with prices of thermo-electricity and oil-fired thermal electricity, this price is only equivalent to 70 percent and 22 percent, respectively.
And how about socio-economic benefits?
Analysis shows that socio-economic efficiency is high. These two projects will make a contribution of some VND350 billion to state budget from annual payment of natural resources tax, corporate income tax, VAT and forest service fee. The value contributed during the 40-year economic cycle is approximately VND15,000 billion and further contribution will be made in years after.
6,000 jobs will be generated during three years of projects’ implementation. Once completed, the projects will still create employment opportunities for thousands of laborers. At the same time, they will contribute to developing the infrastructure system for the area.
However, there currently exists controversy about implementing or putting a stop to these two projects. What is your viewpoint regarding this issue?
In fact, the two projects have undergone a preparation process and six years of research on their feasibility. As such, it will cause a huge loss for the Group if they are halted. There have been many opinions that the projects will cast adverse impacts on the environment down the stream of the Dong Nai river. We have kept a close watch, attentively listened to and seriously taken in such contribution. We do wish that the Government and relevant Ministries consider those opinions, balancing the socio-economic benefits the projects generate and possible environmental impacts so that our Group get legal procedures completed and projected implemented in the earliest possible time. However, in the most unfortunate case, if the Government makes a decision to stop the projects, we will abide by such decision to guarantee common benefits of the society.