Co-organised by the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA), the Centre for Water Resources Management and Climate Change Adaptation (CEWAREC), the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the US’s Stimson Centre, the seminar was held after hydropower dams in Laos and Cambodia collapsed in July and August, attracting public concern over dam safety risks.
Speaking at the event, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations Dr. Phan Tung Mau said Vietnam is home to nearly 7,000 lakes and dams, but a majority of small lakes pose low safety.
IUCN Acting Chief Representative in Vietnam Jake Brunner said if Thailand decides to stop or decrease investment in hydropower plant projects in Laos, Vietnam will become a new and only hydropower importer of Laos so that Vietnam should tap its advantages in energy supply negotiations with Laos to meet its power demand that will double by 2030 and also mitigate political, economic and environment risks in the Mekong Delta caused by hydropower dams.
He suggested that Vietnam should significantly increase investment in solar and wind power, thereby easing its reliance on coal-fired power, promoting electricity trading in the region, and contributing to delivering on commitments in the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Participants discussed suggestions by the Stimson Centre and IUCN within the framework of the Mekong Connectivity programme on Vietnam’s energy development strategy and cooperation between Laos, Vietnam and Mekong countries on promoting the implementation of the master plan on water resources and energy.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam had 238 hydropower reservoirs and 6,648 irrigation lakes as of 2016. Nearly 1,200 dams and lakes were in downgrade conditions.
The event will last till December 20.