Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vietnam should change its hydropower development

The renowned Vietnamese scientist Dao Tong Tu believes that hydropower, in its current state of development in Vietnam, is anything but a good clean energy option for the country. His main argument for this thesis is that nature gets conquered too easily meaning that most of Vietnamese rivers are being cut in the pieces.

The negative consequences include people that were forced to leave their homeland, and some hydropower dams are said to release even more greenhouse gases than this is the case with fossil fuel plants. Hydroelectric plants also "change the living habits, while the historical relics and archaeological value disappears because of the hydropower plants."

Tu also reported that around 20,000 hectares of forests have been damaged in the process of building hydropower dams in Vietnam, which opens the door to serious floods and landslides.

Hydropower development is only positive when sustainable with hydropower dams needed to be managed carefully and effectively. Tu also pointed the positive example of  hydropower dam in Red River Delta where people have no more worries about the floods since the construction of  Hoa Binh, Thac Ba and Son La hydropower plants.

But this is an isolated case, and most of hydropower projects in Vietnam  are built with very little regard to nature and the possibility that dam might break one day causing major economic and ecological damage and also taking lives in the process. Most of these hydro plants are solely developed for the purpose of generating power, which is definitely not the right way to develop this energy sector.

Tu said  “I think it is necessary to stop the hydropower plant development.” This sentence is only partially true, meaning that the current way of hydropower development in the country needs to be stopped. Vietnam has significant hydro resources at its disposal and if hydropower development becomes sustainable hyydropower may well be one of the best renewable energy options for this Asian country.