With more coal-fired thermopower plants, Mekong Delta faces higher risks
Many Mekong Delta provinces, including Bac Lieu, Long An and Tien Giang, are saying 'no’ to coal-fired thermopower plants.
The boiler of the Song Hau 1 Thermal Power Plant’s electricity generation unit No 1 in Hau Giang province burned with oil fuel on July 28. Song Hau 1, with the capacity of 1,200 MW, is located on the Hau River side, 12 kilometers away from Can Tho City.
As such, the provinces in Mekong Delta will have one more coal-fired thermopower plant, expected to connect to the national grid by the end of 2020 or early 2021 and become commercially operational in 2021.
However, this is not good news for Mekong Delta’s people.
According to Le Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Institute for Climate Change Studies, an arm of Can Tho University, if the plant uses the most advanced technology, this will burn coal thoroughly and reduce the amount of fly ash. However, CO2 emissions that cause the greenhouse effect will still be the same, or maybe even bigger because of complete combustion.
Meanwhile, the water to be discharged into the environment after it is used to cool the boiler will have an adverse impact on biodiversity, production and people’s health.
|Many provinces in Mekong Delta have decided to reject coal-fired thermopower projects in their localities. Bac Lieu province has given up Cai Cung thermopower project. Long An and Tien Giang decided that they will develop gas-fired power plants instead of coal-fired ones.|
“The water to reach the environment is not good for organisms, because there is almost nothing in it. Living organisms need suspended sediment,” Tuan said.
Many provinces in Mekong Delta have decided to reject coal-fired thermopower projects in their localities. Bac Lieu province has given up Cai Cung thermopower project. Long An and Tien Giang decided that they will develop gas-fired power plants instead of coal-fired ones.
Tran Dinh Sinh, deputy director of GreenID, said investors still want to develop coal-fired thermal power because they think the required investment rate is low, 7.5 cent per kwh.
However, he said that the investment rate is not low if counting the impact on the environment, society and economy. The real total production cost is no less than 12.5 cent per kwh. If so, coal-fired thermal power is more expensive than solar power, 9.35 cent per kwh.
He emphasized that the emissions of coal-fired power plants will have serious impact on people’s health. When fine dust particles go into lungs and alveoli, it will cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
Sinh believes that it would be better to develop gas-fired rather than coal-fired thermal power, though both of them emit polluting gases.
With coal-fired power, for every kwh of electricity generated, 1 kilogram of CO2 and other toxic gases (SO2, NOx) will be produced. With gas-fired power, there would be 0.5 kilogram of CO2 and there would not be fine dust, SO2, NOx and other toxic gases.
Coal-fired power plants with the total capacity of 18,000 MW produce 16-17 million tons of ash and slag each year in Vietnam, according to GreenID.
A handful of international financial groups have cut their ties with coal-fired power plants – a sustainability move as investors and the public demand strong action on climate change.