18 October 2002 – Vietnam’s Government has approved the feasibility study for the Se San 3A Hydroelectric Plant, which will be the fourth to be built on the Se San River in Kon Tum Province.

The planned 96 MW plant will be built at a cost of $124m, and will join the national power grid by 2007. It will join the existing 720MW Yaly Hydroelectric Plant and the 270MW Se San 3 Plant, which is under construction and will open in 2007, and the 110MW Plei Krong Plant which is in the initial stages and will come online in 2008.

Electricity of Vietnam officials said the Government aims to construct six hydroelectric dams on the river. When the vision comes together, the plants will have a combined capacity of 1763MW – almost matching the Hoa Binh Plant on the Da River.

Hydrological surveys have shown that the 237km-long Se San River in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region has the third-highest potential for electricity generation after the Da River in the north and Dong Nai in the south. The new reservoirs will contribute to economic development in the highlands by supplying water for irrigation.

The demand on power supplies in Vietnam is putting pressure on state power company Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to keep pace. The company is not sure it can fulfil future demand with projects such as the Uong Bi expansion, the Na Hang, the Se San 3 and the Phu My 4.

These projects have a long gestation period – of between five and seven years for a hydroelectricity plant, 3-4 years for a thermal plant, and 2-3 years for a gas turbine. EVN’s power development programme aims to up total capacity of the country’s plants to 20 000 MW, including 20 per cent extra to meet contingencies, by 2010.