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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        06 January 2011

Work begins on new Vietnamese hydro plant

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Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Wednesday attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the US$1.8 billion, 1,200MW Lai Chau hydro power plant, the third in northwest Vietnam.

The power plant, located in Nam Hang Commune in Lai Chau Province and owned by Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN), is expected to start generating in 2017.

The prime minister said the construction was a manifestation of the party and government's policy of giving priority to building hydro power plants to generate more electricity and to regulate water for farm development.

"The Lai Chau power plant will help divert water during the flood season and provide water during the dry season for the northern delta," said Dung, adding that it would also contribute to the development of Lai Chau and Dien Bien provinces.

"You have to make sure that living conditions of the new settlers are better than that of the past, including transport arrangements, schooling and health care," said Dung.

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong on Wednesday also broke ground for the construction of a 1,200MW thermal power plant in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang's Long Duc Commune.

Long Phu Power Plant No 1 will have two turbines, with the first scheduled to become operational in 2014 and the second in 2015.
Viet Nam Oil and Gas Corp. (PetroVietnam) will invest US$1.2 billion in this thermal power plant which it has said will comply with national and international environmental standards.

The Long Phu Power Plant No 1 is part of the Long Phu Power Complex which comprises three thermal power plants with a total capacity of 4,400MW approved by the government.

Several newly-built hydropower plants will be brought into operation early this year in the central region, adding supply to the national grid and increasing energy security, officials say.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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