The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu has rejected the proposed Cai Cung thermal power plant project in a bid to protect the environment for high-tech shrimp farming. (Source: VNA)

Bac Lieu (VNA) – The MeKong Delta province of Bac Lieu has rejected a project to build Cai Cung thermal power plant, saying that it wants to become a national centre of renewable energy and a large producer of shrimp farming.

The Japanese-invested project was expected to improve Bac Lieu’s gross domestic product (GDP) rapidly, just as existing Duyen Hai thermal power plant has done in the neighboring province of Tra Vinh, experts said.

Since the Duyen Hai thermal power plant began operation, Tra Vinh province’s GDP has increased from 6 percent to 12 percent.

Duong Thanh Trung, Chairman of Bac Lieu province’s People’s Committee, said that, even with the latest technology and equipment, the plant would have caused environmental problems as it would require a big area for cinder dumps which would damage shrimp farming, considered key to the province’s economy.

The decision to reject the thermal power plant proposal has received strong support from local residents and enterprises.

With the launch last month of construction on a 3.2 trillion VND (140 million USD) high-tech agricultural park specialising in shrimp, Bac Lieu is expected to become a national shrimp industry hub.

The high-tech agricultural park will cover 420 ha in Bac Lieu city’s Hiep Thanh commune and serve as a centre linking institutes, schools and enterprises. The centre will use high technology in shrimp breeding, produce breeder shrimp and other varieties for shrimp farming, exports and processing.

Its operation is expected to help realise the country’s shrimp export target of 10 billion in the 2021-2025 period.

Bac Lieu currently has an aquaculture area of 1,290 square km, while agricultural production makes up 43 per cent of the province’s GDP.

Each year, the province harvests about 210,000 tonnes of aquatic products including 115,000 tonnes of shrimp, of which export turnover exceeds 527 million USD, or 13.7 per cent of the country’s total.

Late last year, Bac Lieu authorities and the Republic of Korean’s SY Panel Group signed an agreement to develop a 450 million USD solar power plant.

To be built on 400ha in Dong Hai district, the plant is designed to have a capacity of 300 MW. When it is completed in mid 2019, the plant will be the country’s largest solar power plant.

Bac Lieu firms are now keen on investing 100 trillion VND (4.4 billion USD) in renewable energy projects, according to local authorities.

The province, with a 56 km-long coastline, has great potential for developing wind power and sun power projects.-VNA