Wind turbines at the Bac Lieu wind power plant in Bac Lieu City in the Mekong Delta region. (Source: VNA) 

Can Tho (VNA) – Environmental experts gathered in the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho on September 19 to discuss ways to strengthen the participation of the community in evaluating environmental impacts of energy projects in the region.

The event was jointly organised by the Steering Committee for Southwestern Region and the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID).

Tran Huu Hiep from the Steering Committee said the Mekong Delta region is to become a national energy hub, saying that numerous major projects have been invested in the region, contributing to meeting the huge demand for power in the region and the nation.

Over the past years, GreenID has actively worked with the Committee in encouraging the involvement of locals in the implementation of power projects to help tackle environmental issues in economic development.

Under the plan for power plants in the Mekong Delta for the 2016-2020 period, 23 power plants will be built, including 14 coal-fueled power plants with a total capacity exceeding 18,000 MW. The nine others are gas, wind or mass-bio power plants with a total capacity of 4,000MW.

GreenID Director Nguy Thi Khanh stressed the environmental impacts of the eight thermal power plants across the nation, saying that residents living near the plants attributed the poor quality of water and air in the areas to the plants.

Deputy Director of the Research Institute for Climate Change under Can Tho University Le Anh Tuan highlighted Bac Lieu Wind Power project in line with the view on green energy, but underlined the lack of the community’s consultation in the report on the plant’s environmental impacts. He said the related residents are concerned over their livelihood and living condition in the future.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent environmental expert, suggested approaches to evaluate environmental impacts of the power plants, saying that information should be made publicly and transparently available for all stakeholders to access easily.-VNA