Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Jan. 5 issued an order to kick off the construction of the Lai Chau hydropower plant, a project of important socio-economic significance for not only Lai Chau province but also the whole northwestern region.

Located in Nam Hang commune, Muong Te district, the plant has a designed capacity of 1,200 MW and will be built at an estimated cost of 35.7 trillion VND (over 1.78 billion USD), to which the investor - the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) - contributed 20 percent.

Once operational in 2017, the plant is expected to generate an output of 4.67 billion kWh of electricity per year.

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, PM Dung emphasised the Party and State’s consistent policy of prioritising the development of hydropower plants, including the Lai Chau plant.

The government leader urged the EVN to closely coordinate with contractors to ensure the progress, quality and efficiency of the project.

He asked the Lai Chau province authorities to pay appropriate attention to resettlement work as well as ensure social order in the area, especially during the implementation of the project.

On the same day, the National Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and the People’s Committee of Soc Trang province held a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Long Phu 1 thermoelectric power plant in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong.

Covering an area of 115 ha, the 1.2 billion USD plant, which has a combined capacity of 1,200 MW, is the first in the three coal-fueled thermo power plants of the Long Phu Electricity Centre.

The first turbine of the plant will start generating electricity in 2014 and the whole plant is expected to be completed one year later./.