Quang Nam to build four hydropower plants in tremor-affected areas

Local authorities agreed on Wednesday on a plan to build four hydropower plants in the mountainous district of Nam Tra My in the central province of Quang Nam. The four plants will have a design capacity of 78.8MW and cover an area of about 144ha.

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Local residents protest the construction of four more hydropower plants in Quang Nam, saying that it would greatly affect their lives.

Plans for the power plants have evoked mixed reactions, given that Nam Tra My District has suffered frequent quakes of 2.5 to 4.5 magnitude on the Richter scale. The biggest recorded tremor of 4.7 magnitude occurred in 2012.

Le Thi Thuy, head of the Quang Nam Department of Ethnicity, said “Quang Nam Province has the most hydropower plants in the country. Building four more will result in bad consequences”. Thuy added that most opinions have focussed on the plan’s economic perspective.

The loss of forestry land, on the other hand, has not been properly considered. New hydropower plants will have environmental consequences and affect climate change, hurting local residents whose livelihood depends heavily on natural conditions and resources, according to Thuy.

Arguing against her, Ho Quang Buu, head of Nam Tra My District People’s Committee, denied the plants would have a negative impact. All four hydropower plants are designed on a small scale and their water will be supplied through a tunnel, with no consequences for the region.

“I assure you this plan will not affect the forest or people’s livelihood, only improve the local economy,” emphasised Bửu. He conceded that the issue has two faces but added that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. 

“The Nam Tra My District area gets its power from Tam Ky City. The local demand in 2016 was more than 2.8 million kWh. The resulting overload creates power cuts during the rainy season.”

This conclusion was also cited in a report signed by Huynh Khanh Toan, deputy head of Quang Nam People’s Committee. 


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