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THAO: What is hydropower? Hydroelectric power comes from the natural flow of water. The energy is produced by the fall of water turning the blades of a turbine. The turbine is connected to a generator that converts the energy into electricity. Situation of hydropower in Vietnam. Vietnam has huge potential in hydroelectric power with more than 2360 rivers over 10km, estimated theoretical hydropower potential of about 300 KWh / year. In 1943, Vietnam built Ankroet - the first hydroelectric plant. Since then, Vietnam has built 7 large hydroelectric plants. 30 hydroelectric power plants are under construction. And many hydropower projects are being prepared. But too many hydropower were built have both advantages and disadvantages for our country. What do you think about it?


THUY ANH: I think we should build more hydropower plants because it has many environmental benefits. First, it is clean source. Hydropower is a fueled by water, so it's a clean fuel source. Hydropower doesn't pollu te the air like power plants that burn fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas. Second, it is renewable. Hydropower relies on the water cycle, which is driven by the sun, thus it's a renewabl e power source. Last, it is abundant.

Hydropower is generally available as needed. Engineers can control the flow of water through the turbines to produce electricity on demand. CHIEN: I dont agree with you. Hydropower can have many benefits but it also have many effects on environment. Firstly, it disrupts the natural flow of rivers. Hydropower dams can disrupt the natural flow of river, stream levels, flow patterns, temperature of the water which can have negative impact on many river ecosystems. If really large hydropower dams are built, this can lead to earth quakes, erosion, landslides and serious geological damage. It can also lead to flooding disturbing natural flora and fauna and impact on many plant and animal life around rivers. Thirdly, it requires large areas: In order to build a dam, power generation unit and transformers, it requires a huge amount of land and forests to be cleared. So it disrupts many local, natural ecosystems. In many cases even a number of trees have to be cut that destroys not only the plant life but also the animals dependent on them. It can disrupt the ecological balance. THAO: I agree with CHIEN. Although hydropower is inexhaustible energy source, the construction of hydropower plants can cause harm to the environment. What about economy? Do you think hydropower plants can bring economic profit? CHIEN: In my opinion, hydro power isnt a cost effective energy solution. The initial cost of the construction of the hydroelectric power plants is very high. It also takes long time to construct the plant. Lot of designing, planning, and testing goes into the construction of the dams. Construction of dams requires lots of steel, iron and cement which make the hydroelectric power plants very expensive. THUY ANH: I dont think so. It can take time to build hydropower plant. But in comparing hydropower to other energy generators, the other generators take less time to design, obtain approval, build and recover investment. And hydropower is the most energy efficient power generator. Currently, hydropower is capable of converting 90% of the available energy into electricity. This can be compared to the most efficient fossil fuel plants, which are only 60% efficient. THAO: Ive got another point of view. Because the function of hydroelectric power depends on rainfall and the climate which means that hydroelectric energy sources will not work in drought CHIEN: And it needs large scale human displacement:

Because these dams take up such a large area, it is often necessary for humans to relocate. It is not easy to convince people to uproot their lives and businesses. THUY ANH: I think we should take advantage of reservoirs. Impoundment hydropower creates reservoirs that offer a variety of recreational opportunities including fishing, swimming, boating and water sports. CHIEN: What about safety of the dams. The construction materials used for the construction of the dams should be high quality. Any breakage in the dam can cause large scale destruction of the human, plant and animal lives

THAO: We can see the construction of hydroelectric power plants have many benefits but can face many problems. So what are solutions of this problem? First, I think each of us should save energy. There are many easy ways to save energy. Such as turn off unnecessary lights, take advantage of natural daylight, use energy saving bulbs Second, we should repair old hydropower plant instead of building new.