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Coal-fired power plants serving industry worsening pollution

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Vietnam’s coal-fired power plants which generate electricity and those serving industrial plants are worsening pollution.

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Le Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Institute for Climate Change Studies under the Can Tho University, as in India and China, said that coal-fired power in Vietnam mostly serves industrial production activities. 

It is expected that 39 percent of electricity output will serve industrial production activities by 2020, while 32 percent will be used for people’s consumption and the remaining for services.

“Meanwhile, industrial production once again causes pollution, so we have to suffer from dual pollution,” Tuan said, citing examples of steel mills and fertilizer plants incurring losses because they use outdated technologies.

“This means that we not only incur damages when developing coal-fired power (which generates smoke and dust, affects water sources and people’s livelihoods), but also when using electricity for unprofitable industrial production activities.”

State agencies predict increasingly high demand for electricity, which means that Vietnam needs to develop more thermal power plants. 

Tuan went on to say that Vietnam and the Mekong Delta in particular has suffered not only from domestic thermal power projects, but also from projects in China. 

He cited research pointing out that the coal-fired thermal power plants in the northeast of China seriously lack water, which had prompted the country to divert water from the western and southern areas to the north. This includes the diversion of Mekong’s water to water-thirsty plants.

“As such, they take away a part of Mekong’s water, thus affecting the water supply to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

Tuan cited figures from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) as reporting that there are 12 operating thermal power plants, which consume 8.7 million tons of coal and emit 17.5 million tons of CO2.

By 2030, when the number of plants rises to 70, they will consume 162 million tons of coal and and produce a huge amount of waste.

Tuan also warned that the development of many coal-fired power plants would threaten energy security problems.

Investors argue that they are developing coal-fired plants to ensure the country’s energy security. But in fact, it is the strong development of the plants which may lead to energy insecurity. 

The plants need huge amounts of coal to operate, and as the domestic supply is short, they will be reliant on imports.

 

Source: VietNamNet

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