Vietnam’s Electricity Corporation plans to increase generation by 11% in 1998, to 21.3TWh, according to Vietnam News. However, reservoir levels remain low, and the country is increasingly looking towards new thermal generation to meet its electricity needs.

New hydro plants are still planned, and at the largest of them, Son La, Vietnam News reports that around 70,000 people must be relocated along the Da river in the north west to make way for the plant. Other estimates put the total of people affected over 100,000. Son La will have a 3600MW capacity, and its output is largely intended for local mining, paper and food processing industries.

Following prefeasibility studies in 1997, Electricité de Vietnam will now work with consultants from Russia’s Moscow Design & Production Institute to complete a full feasibility study by August, with the aim of setting construction tenders in 1999. The US$4 billion project has so far found little favour at the World Bank and other multilateral funding agencies, however, Russia wants to increase its participation in Vietnam’s hydroelectric sector, according to Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin. He was speaking in Hanoi at the end of 1997.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning is also currently seeking foreign investment to meet the US$248 million capital cost of the Dong Nai 4 hydro electric plant. The plant will be rated at 680MW.

Meanwhile, commissioning of the fifth turbine has increased capacity at the Song Pha plant in Vietnam’s southern Ninh Thuan province to 7500MW. It is expected to produce 40TWh in 1998, up from 30TWh last year. In addition, irrigation dams Phai Lui, in Tan Lap, and Ban Lac, in Cho Don, were both recently completed.

  Vietnamese network engineers will have training in computer technology under a new Vietnam -Canada agreement. Training will be provided and part-funded by hydro-quebec, and part-funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.