Solar panels are likely to strew local hills and waters near hydroelectric dams
An administration in Vietnam’s Central Highlands has floated a proposal to create 18 solar farms which totally cost billions of dollars on its land formerly intended for forestry, supposedly raising new hope for the region’s economic growth.
The People’s Committee in Dak Lak Province has formally suggested increasing the number of local solar plants from four to eighteen in the areas that span 7,494 hectares as a group, according Pham Ngoc Nghi, the committee’s chairman.
These areas were converted from plots of land in which afforestation and agricultural projects had been implemented to very low effects.
The first four solar ranches were initially licensed in July 2017 by the Dak Lak authorities, invested by Dak Lak Long Thanh Investment Joint Stock Company; Xuan Thien Group – part of Xuan Thanh Corporation, a major conglomerate operating in many fields nationwide; TH Group, a Vietnamese dairy producer; and the U.S.-based AES Corporation, an electrical power provider.
Nghi said that at present the need for greater economic development necessitates 14 more solar stations, which he considered promising and highly feasible.
Four of the 18 planned solar farms are collectively worth billions of dollars; only two of the four have been approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and are awaiting official permission from the prime minister.
Many of the additional facilities will be partly built on waters next to hydroelectric dams in Dak Lak, so that the amount of forest land to be transformed for the purpose can be saved, the chairman said.
He also affirmed that the initiative dovetails with the Vietnamese prime minister’s orientation of developing renewable energy in the future, and the provincial goals of generating economic prosperity.
The above proposal followed a decision by the government in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan last week to construct a VND875 billion (US$38 million) extensive solar power plant.