Vietnam: Piloting allowing impact on natural forests when constructing power transmission lines
On 23rd February 2023, the Government issued Resolution No. 23/NQ-CP on piloting permitting impacts on natural forests to do some temporary works to serve the construction of the Monsoon-Thanh My 500kV transmission line project on Nam Giang district, Quang Nam province.
In Resolution No. 23/NQ-CP dated February 23, 2023, the Government has agreed to pilot the policy of allowing impacts on natural forests in communes: La Dee, Cha Val, Ta Bhinh, Ta Po in Nam Giang, Quang Nam province to make temporary works including service roads and material storage yards to serve the construction of pillar foundations of the 500 kV Monsoon - Thanh My transmission line project (the section in the territory of Vietnam). The Government assigned the Quang Nam Provincial People's Committee to direct the provincial authorities to coordinate with the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to review the design documents, determine the exact location, construction scale and duration of the temporary works, the area and current status of the forest that need to be affected to make temporary works (service roads, material storage yards) to serve the construction of the pillars of this project. Quang Nam Provincial People's Committee approved the location, construction scale and duration of temporary works, the plan of impact and forest restoration for the construction of temporary works before implementing the 500 kV Monsoon transmission line project - Thanh My, ensuring that the area and level of impact on natural forests are the lowest, without adversely affecting the forest environment and biodiversity. The committee also takes responsibility legally and the Government for the location and area of forest proposed for impact, ensuring consistency between the dossier and the field.
After the project is finished, the Vietnam Electricity Group must restore the forests to hand them over to localities and forest owners for management according to the provisions of the law on forestry. In the course of project implementation, if there are problems related to other works including but not related to telecommunication infrastructure, construction, etc., they should promptly report to competent authorities for consideration and coordination of solution.
The Government assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with relevant agencies in, inspecting the pilot impact on natural forests and reforestation after completing the construction of temporary works of the project, promptly handling problems arising in the implementation process according to their competence and provisions of law, ensuring that no loss or illegal use of forests is caused, reporting to the competent authority for any excess of authorisation, and summarising, evaluating and reporting to the Prime Minister the results of the implementation of the Resolution.
In particular, after the successful application of the pilot, the Government will request relevant agencies to study and supplement regulations on the impact and use of forests to make temporary works to serve the construction of works and projects in the future as a part of the process of amending and supplementing Decree No. 156/2018/ND-CP, ensuring the rigor, practicability, authority and uniform application nationwide.
Monsoon-Thanh My 500kV transmission line project : The site is located at an elevation of 1,200-1,600m above sea level and is hilly with limited forest and currently limited land use. The Project was officially nominated by the GOL to the Ministry of Industry and Trades of Vietnam (“MOIT”) in July 2017 under a collaboration in the energy sector between Lao PDR and Vietnam, making it the first renewable energy project being offered cross border in ASEAN. On 21 July 2020, the Prime Minister of Vietnam approved the plan for importing power generated from the Project to Vietnam’s power system via a 500kV grid connection and approved the addition of a 500kV transmission line from the Project to the Thanh My Substation to the Revised Power Development Plan VII of Vietnam. The Power Purchase Agreement was successfully executed with Vietnam Electricity (“EVN”) on 12 July 2021 and the Commercial Operation Date is targeted for the end of 2025.