Coal-fired power plants threaten Vietnam deltas

Vietnam’s plan to take its total number of coal-fired power plants to 31 by 2020 has raised environmental concerns.

To minimize costs and the loss of electrical power during transmission, thermal power plants in Vietnam are usually built near large economic centers of the country’s Red River Delta and Mekong Delta regions, where electricity usage is at its highest.

Environmental hazards caused by these types of power plants came to the fore in April 2015, when coal ashes from Vinh Tan 2 Thermal Power Station in Binh Thuan Province spread to nearby residential areas due to low levels of air humidity.

Southern Vietnam faces power starvation

Southern Vietnam, which is home to commercial hubs like Ho Chi Minh City and manufacturing clusters such as Dong Nai and Binh Duong, may face more power shortages from 2017.

The country’s total power output is likely to fall short of the south’s demand by 10-15 percent, said Duong Quang Thanh, chairman of state monopoly Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).

The state utility plans to run more power plants on diesel to produce about 5 billion kilowatt-hours per year starting from next year to supplement supplies in the south, Thanh added.