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Trung Son Hydropower Project: Meeting Growing Energy Demands in Vietnam



Trung Son is a $411.57 million medium-sized hydropower and development project located in Northwest Vietnam that will supply affordable, clean, and sustainable electricity for domestic consumption. The project will also contribute to the climate change agenda in Vietnam by avoiding CO2 emissions of about 1 million tons per year (net) taking into account the additional low emissions from its reservoir.

Trung Son will enable Vietnam’s energy security by developing an additional 260MW of electricity-generating capacity to meet expansion requirements in the sector.  It also meets the rising energy demands of a country whose economy has been growing at more than 7% annually over the past several years.

Trung Son Hydropower Project (TSHPP) was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors  on April 26th, 2011, and is the first World Bank investment project under IBRD lending conditions to the Government of Vietnam.

Vietnam’s annual growth rate of 7-8% since 1992  has led to an increasing demand for power. Electricity consumption in Vietnam has been growing at 15% annually for the past several years. Chronic shortages are affecting the agricultural, industrial and services sector, while many houses still have no electricity. To meet this demand—estimated at an installed capacity of 39GW by 2020, compared to 15.8 GW in 2008—the Government is developing a range of power sources, including hydropower.

As climate change impacts create increasing national concern, a series of hydropower plants that provide clean, renewable and low-cost energy have been planned. Vietnam is keen to improve the social and environmental performance of these projects, and TSHPP is an opportunity to show the progress Vietnam has made in developing a legal and policy framework that complies with the Bank’s safeguards policies.

The World Bank has been supporting Vietnam’s goal of achieving energy security since the early 1990s. . The US$330 million IBRD loan includes support for equipment, civil works and technical assistance for the dam, reservoir and hydropower plant. A sum of US$26 million is reserved for improved resettlement, livelihood development, support for ethnic minorities and environment protection. Through the project, the World Bank will also provide technical support to Vietnam Electricity (EVN)  in improving the performance of its hydropower projects in dam safety and operations as well as in adopting international standards in social and environmental practices


Trung Son Hydropower Project’s implementation is being undertaken by the Trung Son Hydropower Company (TSHPCo), a unit under Vietnam Electricity (EVN), and the national electricity utility. It is responsible for ensuring the entire project is implemented according to both Government and World Bank requirements. EVN created the Trung Son Hydropower Company (TSHPCo) as a One-member Company from the former TSHPMB. TSHPCo is a wholly owned subsidiary of EVN into which all the assets of Trung Son Hydropower Plant (TSHPP) will be placed. The Trung Son Hydropower Company has a dedicated website (http: //www.trungsonhp.vn) where publicly available information is updated and placed.
Trung Son Hydropower Project includes the development, construction, and operation of the power plant using water from the Ma River and releasing it into the same basin. The project site is located in Son La, Than Hoa and Hoa Bin provinces in northwestern Vietnam, with the plant in the territory of Trung Son commune, Quan Hoa district, Thanh Hoa province, about 10 km south of the Lao border following the flow of the Ma River  . The main features of the project include:

• 84.5 meter-high dam on the Ma River;
• 13.13 square-kilometer reservoir;
• Powerhouse containing four 65 MW Francis turbines (260 MW installed capacity) each designed for a maximum water head of about 72 m;
• 65 kilometer-long 220-kV transmission line to the Vietnamese national grid;
• 20.4 kilometer access road connecting the road system to the project site;
• Social, environmental and community relations programs to mitigate project anticipated and unanticipated impacts to a directly or indirectly impacted populations of about 10,600 people, representing over 2,000 households. Of these, over 7,000 people are directly impacted in the main projects area.

Apart from the above mentioned features, the Trung Son project has a robust, multi-layer monitoring and evaluation framework consisting of the following elements:

• Dam Safety Review Panel/Project Technical Advisory Panel (PTAP) to advise on technical construction, operations, and dam safety issues. At the request of TSHPMB/TSHPCo, the Dam Safety Review Panel, which provides broad engineering advice, is absorbed by a Project Technical Advisory Panel (PTAP).  The PTAP is tasked to provide more general project technical and engineering advice during the construction phase of the project.

• Panel of Environmental and Social Experts (POE),  reporting to the Government and financed via the IBRD loan, to advise on environmental and social issues. In addition to these oversight roles the Panel will be involved in the independent grievance process.  The POE normally will visit Vietnam once or twice per year (or more often at the Government’s request).

• Independent monitoring consultants (IMC),  reviewing activities by both contractors and TSHPCo and reporting independently to EVN and the World Bank.

• Regular supervision by staff of the World Bank, in the form of site visits and management and technical missions.

The project aims to provide safe, affordable and sustainable power supply which will also provide the following benefits:

• Improvement in living conditions for  1,691 households that will be  relocated;
• Livelihood restoration activities for all 7,546 people affected by the project;
• US$2 million for the protection of 3 natural biodiversity preserves in the Project areas;
• Continuous consultations with villagers on  their preferences;
• Employment for  Vietnamese workers during construction years;
• Improved road access for villagers and surrounding areas, including a 20.4 km access road connecting  the Project site;
• Increase Vietnam’s power supply with an additional 1019GW a year;
• Provide flood control benefits through a water storage capacity of  112 million m3;
• More electricity will be added to the national grid, while CO2 emissions of about 1 million tons per year will be avoided.

Toward the Future

The Trung Son Hydropower project is a good example of a well-designed, medium-scale hydropower project   that meets international good practices in technical design, analysis of alternatives, and particularly environmental, social and dam safety elements. Given Vietnam’s plans to develop a series of medium scale hydropower projects in the coming years, the first hydropower project that the World Bank is financing in Vietnam can serve as a good practice example upon which subsequent projects can build. The Trung Son Hydropower Project is an example of how hydropower can help support Vietnam’s development in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable way.

For more information

Please visit www.worldbank.org/vn/trungson or contact any of the people listed below:

In Hanoi
Mr. Franz Gerner
Ms. Mai Thi Hong Bo
Ms. Meriem Gray

In Washington, DC
Mr. Carl Hanlon

More detailed aspects of the project in all sections and components described above can be found in the Project Appraisal Document, publicly available after the IBRD/DA World Bank Board of Executive Directors' approval.