The Coc San hydropower plant, the first foreign-funded power project in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai
, will start generating power on June 8, helping reduce the import of power from mainland China.
Allard Noov, CEO of Infraco Asia, a Singaporean-based company that invested in the plant, made the announcement at a press meeting in Hanoi on June 6.
The 29.7-megawatt (MW) plant is part of the provincial power development plan that seeks to reach production capacity of 1,000 MW by 2020. It was built at a cost of $49.9 million.
The facility is expected to underpin an expansion of iron mining, copper industries, and fertilizer production from apatite mines and to boost provincial fiscal revenue. It will provide access to power to 130,000 locals and help cut approximately 76,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
The project has been developed and will be operated by Lao Cai Renewable Energy (Vietnam) JSC (LCRE). The original shareholders of LCRE were Colben Energy Holdings (Vietnam) Ltd (VCEH), a subsidiary of Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd and two Vietnamese companies.
InfraCo Asia was the majority shareholder during the Coc San project’s development phase. In February 2016 Nexif Energy, supported by private equity investors Denham Capital, acquired a stake in the project, allowing InfraCo Asia to step back.
Foreign shareholders hold a 73.6% stake in LCRE, according to the Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.
Once the plant operates smoothly, InfraCo Asia will sell its stake to private investors and use the proceeds to reinvest in other hydropower projects in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s electricity demand grows 15% annually. Hydropower currently accounts for about 44% of energy generated, followed by oil, gas and thermal at 34%, and coal at 19%.