Authorities in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have made the decision to scrap plans for constructing 17 small and medium hydropower plants with a total capacity of 27.4 megawatts.
A hydropower plant in Dak Lak province
The province has also axed 69 sites which have potential to become future stations, with a combined capacity totalling 117 megawatts.
The move came following the prime minister’s directive to close natural forests in the Central Highlands as a measure to deal with climate change during the 2016-2020 period, said Dak Lak Vice Chairman Y Giang Gry Nie Knong.
In addition to 17 small and medium-sized plants, the province also decided to cease construction of the 26-megawatt Drang Phoc hydropower plant on the Serepok River located at the core area of the Yok Don National Park as more than 60 hectares of special-use forest would have to be cut down.
According to the Dak Lak vice chairman, the removal of these projects and potential sites is because most of them are located in forest areas, meaning hydropower plant construction would seriously affect forest resources and local ecology.
Furthermore, experts say Dak Lak and the Central Highlands in general have huge potential for harnessing wind and solar power, which has little impact on forests. As such the province is calling for investment in the field.
Dak Lak has set a target to generate 5,250 megawatts from wind and solar farms by 2030, concentrating on the districts of Buon Don, Cu M’gar, Ea H’Leo, Ea Sup, Krong Nang, Krong Buk and Buon Ho town.
Last March, Dak Lak granted investment licences to 12 wind and solar power projects on the sidelines of a conference calling for investment in the Central Highlands region.