Dai Ninh Hydro Plant, Vietnam

Two 150MW turbines will provide the power for the Dai Ninh hydroelectric plant now being built in Vietnam. The 300MW plant is scheduled to come on line at the end of 2007. It is located on the Dong Nai River, the main tributary to the Saigon River. The dam and plant are in Ham Thuan Bac District, Binh Thuan Province, about 250km from Ho Chi Minh City. It will generate 300MW of power for Ho Chi Minh City and surrounding provinces.

The $440 million contract for designing, manufacturing, installing and commissioning the equipment was won by Toshiba Corporation and Nissho Iwai Corporation. Project consultation is being provided by a joint venture of Japan’s Nippon Koei Co., Ltd. and Electric Power Development Corporation Co., Ltd.

Concerns about forced resettlement of over a thousand local families has led to criticism of the project, and the World Bank declined funding for it in 1998. The project will cover over 2,000ha, 1,900ha of which will be for the reservoir. Of this, just over half is agricultural land and the rest forests.

Dai Ninh is a multipurpose dam, and will supply water for agriculture as well as generating electric power. The project will transfer water from the Dong Nai River via an 11km tunnel to the Luy River.


Toshiba is supplying the generator. The company’s all-in-one control equipment incorporates governor, AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator), control / protection, and telecommunication systems. The hydraulic turbine governor controls the guide vanes by detecting turbine speed and opening and closing the guide vane to keep turbine speed stable or regulate output. The governor therefore determines the controllability of the power station and the power quality.

A US$34 million contract covers the building of a 500kV / 200kV substation and expansion of an existing 110kV / 220 kV substation to connect Dai Ninh to the national grid. These facilities will also help stabilize the 500kV transmission line for other hydro-power plants in the region.


Sumitomo and Japan AE Power were the main substation contractors, with Siemens and Vietnamese company Power Construction Co. No. 2 as sub-contractors. Siemens is responsible for designing, manufacturing, delivering and constructing the substations and accompanying telecommunication systems. The 500kV / 220kV equipment comes from Germany, control and protection systems from Indonesia and telecommunication systems from Singapore.


The Dai Ninh project is part of the Vietnamese government’s plans to increase the country’s installed capacity by 10,000MW before 2010. However, the Vietnamese national power company, Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN), is concerned that prolonged droughts could have a negative impact on its existing hydroelectric stations, threatening to reduce output by nearly 1,000 million kWh in a year.

Alongside building new power plants, EVN therefore plans to purchase more electricity from China to address anticipated electricity shortages in 2006 and 2007. Vietnam has already agreed to buy nearly 100MW of electricity from China, and is negotiating to purchase 300MW to 400MW more in 2006.


Funding for Dai Ninh comes from an ODA (Official Development Assistance) loan by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Around 85% of the $440 million capital came from the Japanese Government’s ODA loans, and the rest from Vietnam.

Vietnam and Japan have signed credit agreements allowing Vietnam to borrow around $730 million from Japanese banks to fund infrastructure projects. These will include Dai Ninh, along with expansion of the Thac Mo hydroelectric power plant. EVN is also planning two other hydropower plants in the region, Dong Nai Hydro-power Project No. 3 and Dong Nai Hydro-power Project No. 4.


In the 1990s, the Canadian government paid engineering consultants SNC-Lavalin almost C$1 million for design and feasibility studies. Sogreah produced a review of the feasibility study and economical report in 1995 and worked with SNC Lavalin on the technical study. Sogreah and Pacific Rim Power of Canada subsequently completed the design and prepared the bidding documents for the project.

The reports have never been released, however, and none of the project plans are available for public review in Vietnam. Dai Ninh will reportedly forcibly cause the displacement of up to 14,000 people and directly affect the livelihoods of tens of thousands of rural Vietnamese. Affected families will be resettled in Duc Trong and Bac Binh districts.

The World Bank, which funded the feasibility study, foresaw no serious problems with resettlement, since families are supposed to receive land-for-land compensation. They have also been promised compensation for lost houses, property and crops.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) have both however also warned against damage to biodiversity in nature reserves.