PM Nguyen Tan Dung (L) shakes hands with participants in the celebration (Photo: VNA)

Lai Chau (VNA) – The operation of the first turbine of the Lai Chau hydropower plant, a key work of Vietnam, was marked with a celebration in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau on December 23.

In his speech, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the Lai Chau hydropower project, located in Nam Nhun district, is designed to have a total capacity of 1,200 MW and generate an annual turnover of 7 trillion VND (310.45 million USD).

When fully operational, the plant will join the other counterparts on the mainstream Da River – Son La and Hoa Binh – to provide about one-third (25 billion kWh a year) of Vietnam’s total hydroelectricity output.

The three factories will greatly help control the flow of the Da River, contain floods in the lower reach, including Hanoi capital, in the rainy season, and supply water in the dry season, the leader noted.

He appreciated continuous efforts by the investor – the State-owned Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) – and over 8,000 technicians, engineers and workers during almost five years to put the first turbine into operation and make it part of the national grid.

He also highlighted relevant ministries, sectors and agencies’ cooperation with and assistance to the EVN during the project construction, and local authorities’ resettlement of about 8,500 residents to serve the work.

In 2016, the EVN must ensure the safe and effective operation of the first turbine and strive to put into use the two remaining turbines as expected, the PM said.

The first turbine officially generated electricity to the national grid on December 14 this year – three months ahead of schedule. This is a prerequisite for the completion of the entire project in 2016 – one year earlier than the set target.

The plant, the third largest of its kind on the Da River, is also hoped to fuel the socio-economic development and help ensure security-defence in the northwestern region.

On this occasion, PM Nguyen Tan Dung also presented the Labour Order (second and third class) to 10 collectives in recognition of their excellent contributions to the project.-VNA