The role of sea in promoting sustainable hydropower development


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Lessons from the Mekong River of SE Asia

This presentation was given at the VIII International Conference RIVERS OF SIBERIA AND THE FAR EAST innIrkutsk, 6-7 June 2013 by Tarek KETELSEN, International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM)

The presentation provides an introduction to the Mekong, an overview of Mekong mainstream hydropower
and the role /scope of SEA in influencing decisions. SEA Process, the impacts of mainstream hydropower, power security, economic development & poverty alleviation, ecosystem integrity, fisheries & food security, social systems & communities, and alternatives to mainstream hydropower are also considered.

The Mekong is one of the most bio-diverse river basins globally. Some statistics on Mekong biodiversity:
- 781 known fish species
- 200 new fish species found 2011-2012
- 1,000 new terrestrial & aquatic species 1997 -2007
- Centre of origin for coconut, sugar cane, clove, nutmeg, black pepper, onion, cucumber, egg plant
- >13,000 traditional rice varieties in Lao PDR
- >3,000 traditional egg plant varieties in Lao PDR
- Highly productive system
- >70% of Mekong population are dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods

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The role of sea in promoting sustainable hydropower development

  2. 2. 2 1. Introduction to the Mekong 2. Overview of Mekong mainstream hydropower 3. Role /scope of SEA in influencing decisions 4. SEA Process 5. Impacts of mainstream hydropower  Power security  Economic development & poverty alleviation  Ecosystem integrity  Fisheries & food security  Social systems & communities 6. Alternatives to mainstream hydropower 7. Conclusions OVERVIE W
  3. 3. 3 THE MEKONG BIODIVER SITY One of the most bio-diverse river basins globally  781 known fish species  200 new fish species found 2011-2012  1,000 new terrestrial & aquatic species 1997 -2007  Centre of origin for coconut, sugar cane, clove, nutmeg, black pepper, onion, cucumber, egg plant  >13,000 traditional rice varieties in Lao PDR  >3,000 traditional egg plant varieties in Lao PDR  Highly productive system  >70% of Mekong population are dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods
  4. 4. 4  Monsoon climate and snow/glacial melt in the Lancang River leads to a “flood pulse” hydrograph  Flood pulse is highly variable between seasons, but highly consistent in the timing of seasonal transitions  Vast areas of flood plain, river banks and in-channel islands vary between aquatic and terrestrial phases every year  Creating seasonal habitats and efficient recycling of biomass and nutrients HAS HIGH LEVELS OF VARIABILIT Y 0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 40,000 1-Jan 1-Feb 1-Mar 1-Apr 1-May 1-Jun 1-Jul 1-Aug 1-Sep 1-Oct 1-Nov 1-Dec PAKSE VIENTIANE CHIANG SAEN KRATIE TAN CHAU CHAU DOC
  6. 6. 6 HAS HIGH LEVELS OF CONNECTIV ITY Mountains – floodplains – delta – marine  Transport of average 457km3/yr  Production & transport of ~160Mt of sediment each year  >26,000 t/yr of Total P  Floodplains – riverine habitats  Migration of fish – at least 800,000 t/yr  Floodplain refuge for 1.3 Mt/yr of non- migratory fish
  7. 7. 7 MAINSTRE AM HYDROPO WERNo MAINSTREAM PROJECT DEVELOPER 1 Pak Beng China: Datang International Power Generation 2 Luang Prabang Vietnam: PETROVIETNAM Power Corporation 3 Xayaburi Thailand: SEAN & Ch. Karnchang Public 4 Pak Lay China: CEIEC & Sino-Hydro 5 Xanakham China: Datang International Power Generation 6 Pak Chom Thailand/Laos: 7 Lat Sua Thailand: Italian Thai Asia Corp. Holdings 8 Ban Koum Thailand: Charoen Energy & Waters Asia 9 Don Sahong Malaysia: Mega First 10 Thakho France: Compagnie Nationale du Rhone and EDL 11 Stung Treng Vietnam 12 Sambor China: Southern Power Grid
  8. 8. 8 MAINSTRE AM HYDROPO WER VIET NAM  Reservoir lengths: 10 – 180km  Reservoir Areas: 13-620km2  55% of the Mekong River (Chiang Saen to Kratie) converted from river to reservoir  Total installed capacity: 14,697 MW
  9. 9. 9 WHY MAINSTRE AM HYDRO? Regulation of Mekong flow due to Chinese hydropower on the Lancang River (Upper Mekong Basin)  Rapid entrance of the private sector into hydropower development and their preference for large investment projects
  10. 10. 10 SEAs OF MEKONG HYDROPO WER MRC SEA OF MEKONG MAINSTREAM HYDROPOWER  Involved consultations with more than 60 government agencies & 40 NGOs  18 months (2009-2010)  24 specialists  Focused on 12 mainstream hydropower schemes  These are sovereign decisions of Cambodia (2 proposals) and Lao PDR (10 proposals)  There is a commitment to notify, consult and seek to reach agreement with neighbors ADB SEA OF GMS POWER DEVELOPMENT PLAN  Focused consultations on the GMS Regional Power Trade Committee & Govt, consultation  18 months (2012-2013)  13 specialists  Focused on the GMS power development plan  Consists of:  The national Power Development Plans  Additional GMS regional transmission line options  Identifies the economic least-cost generation and transmission expansion
  11. 11. 11 ROLE OF SEA SEA MRC SEA: what are the cross- sectoral impacts of large hydropower development on the GMS SEA: what are the alternatives to large hydropower which will continue to support growth without the high cost to natural systems and other sectors? WATERSHED MANAGEMENT  Conservation plans  Agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture etc master plans  Rural development plans  Protected Area buffer zone management plans  Water allocation plan POWER & INDUSTRY  Power development plans  Transmission line master plans  Special Economic Zones  Distribution systems
  12. 12. 12  An SEA is effective if it contributes and influences the decision making process  Influence can be:  To distill the critical trade-offs – the “big” issues  Providing alternatives to the plan that better meet sustainability objectives  Consolidate sustainability objectives where they are absent  Provide space for discussion and debate amongst decision makers  Improve transparency of decision making  And sometimes even to fill information gaps by undertaking new research INFLUENCE DECISION PROCESSE S
  13. 13. 13 Inception and scoping Report Baseline Assessment Report Opportunities & Risk Report Final Report National Government consultations Regional Government Consultations Civil society Organizations (CSO) Consultations Developer consultations May – June 2009 June-Sep 2009 Feb-May 2010 May-July 2010 Scoping phase Baseline phase Opportunities & Risk phase Avoidance enhancement & Mitigation phase AME Report Oct 2010  Staged approach – analysis, consultation & documentation at each stage STEPS IN SEA PROCESS
  14. 14. 14 SEA PROCESS National Scoping & Capacity Building Workshop & Civil Societ Meetings •4 National Scoping Workshops •3 Civil Society meeting •ThaiCivil Society meeting to follow in November 8 THEMES (~30 - 40 KEY ISSUES) Government Line Agency Meetings •meetings with 40 agencies in the LMB 2 Field Missions & Opinion from 17 experts •Luang Prabang, Xayabouly, Pak Lay, Sanakhan, Pak Chom 100s of development Issues past present future Without mainstream hydropower Issue 2 Issue 1 With mainstream hydropower 2. BASELINE ASSESSMENT With mitigation 1.SCOPING 3. OPPORTUNITIES & RISKS ASSESSMENT 4.MITIGATION  SCOPING: What are the key issues for development and conservation ?  BASELINE: What are the trends in these keys issues without the proposed development?  IMPACT: What are the impacts of mainstream hydropower on each of these trends?  AVOIDANCE, ENHANCEMENT, MITIGATION: How will the most important  risks be avoided, or mitigated  benefits be enhanced
  15. 15. 15  Large projects producing significant quantum of power: 14,697 MW, or 23 - 28% of the national hydropower potential of the 4 LMB countries  Not critical in terms of regional power sector:  6-8% of the projected LMB power demand for 2025, equivalent to the expected LMB energy demand growth rate experienced in one year between 2015 and 2025  Minor impact on electricity prices at regional(<1.5%) , and national levels  Lao PDR gains most from the overall mainstream power benefits, but has many alternatives for export & domestic supply  The mainstream proposals are most critical to power sector development in Cambodia  heavily dependent on expensive imported oil and most limited range of alternative options IMPACTS: POWER SECURITY
  16. 16. 16 ECONOMI C DEVELOP MENT Export revenues are estimated to be worth ~USD3-4billion/yr for all 12 projects  Lao projects: USD 2.6- 2.8billion/yr  Cambodian projects: USD 1.2-1.4 billion/yr  During the BOT* concession period (0- 25yrs):  26-31% of project benefits would accrue to national governments  Remainder to  FDI ~USD25billion for all 12 projects – significant economic stimulus to the host countries and the region  ~50% of FDI would be spent outside host countries  Fisheries and agriculture: losses are an order of magnitude greater than the realistic benefits to those sectors  Fisheries losses ~USD 476 million/yr  Reservoir fishery gains ~USD 14million/yr  Agricultural losses ~USD 33.1million/yr
  17. 17. 17 ECONOMI C DEVELOP MENT LMB mainstream projects would likely contribute to a growing inequality and a short to medium term worsening of poverty in LMB countries  Insufficient national and regional capacity to ensure that benefits accruing at the national level are transferred to the local level  short to medium term: international financing
  18. 18. 18  The mainstream projects would cut the longitudinal connectivity of the Mekong ecosystem, compartmentalizing it into smaller and far less productive units resulting in an irreversible compromise to natural system integrity:  ~55% of the river Chiang Saen – Kratie will become reservoir  ~5% of the river would experience permanent water levels great than 1/1,000yr event  ~40% of the Mekong River’s wetlands would be affected  ~ 17% of which would be permanently inundated by the LMB mainstream projects  Loss or reduction in important Mekong transition seasons  Not a significant regional impact on the Mekong flood regime from individual projects due to small retention times  Sediment load drop by ~50% for 2030 without LMB mainstream  Sediment load will drop by 75% with LMB mainstream with major consequences for delta stability, floodplain fertilization and coastal fishery  Peaking operation: 3-6m spikes in water levels in towns 40-50km downstream of a project  Little time for notification (1-2hours)  Potentially even larger during emergency or unplanned releases IMPACTS: ECOSYST EMS
  19. 19. 19  permanent and irreplaceable global loss of biodiversity, including the extinction of a number of globally endangered species, which cannot be compensated  The loss of habitats would encourage the proliferation of generalist species  river fragmentation would isolate aquatic populations into pockets leading to a loss of species  Adverse impacts to Mekong aquatic systems & geomorphology would be unavoidable  Terrestrial ecosystems:  generally more locally based impacts  can be mitigated or compensated by measures for rehabilitation and re-creation (e.g. conservation offset programmes) IMPACTS: ECOSYST EMS
  20. 20. 20 Mainstream projects:  Would fundamentally undermine the abundance, productivity and diversity of the Mekong fish resources, affecting the millions of rural people who rely on it for nutrition and livelihood  total loss in fish resources ~660,000 t/yr from all hydropower IMPACTS: FOOD SECURITY
  21. 21. 21  Rural and urban communities living within 15 km of the Mekong River would experience greater food insecurity due to:  the reduction in capture fisheries  net loss of subsistence agriculture and river bank gardens.  Substantial losses in the fresh and marine capture fisheries and in Delta aquaculture would have IMPACTS: FOOD SECURITY
  22. 22. 22  significant effects on riparian communities by disrupting their ways of life, cultures and sense of community  2.1 million people, ~10% of people living & working within 5 km of the river, are expected to be most at risk to the direct and indirect impacts of the LMB mainstream dams  Direct impacts:106,942 people  Indirect impacts: 2 million people IMPACTS: COMMUNI TIES
  23. 23. 23 NATIONA L TRADE- OFFSTHEME ISSUE LAO PDR CAMBODIA THAILAND VIET NAM Hydrology and sediment Changes in patterns of maximum water levels, rates of rise and predictability Changes in sediment transport and deposition Changes in nutrient transport Terrestrial ecosystems and agriculture Habitat loss and degradation Changes in Land use Changes in irrigated agriculture Changes in River bank gardens Aquatic ecosystems Change in productivity of aquatic habitats Changes in populations of rare and endangered species Changes in water quality Fisheries Changes in long distance migration Changes in fish species biodiversity Changes in fish production Social systems Changes in poverty and natural resource based livelihoods Changes in health and nutrition Social effects of resettlement, land acquisition and loss of access Changes in cultural values and patterns Economics Contributions to national economy - Export earning Contributions to national economy - Foreign Direct Investment Contributions to local economies (district and community level Energy and Power Achieving energy security Meeting national energy demands Meeting local energy needs Climate change Relative emissions of green-house Gas Direct impacts of climate change on hydropower projects - extreme events & dam security Combined effect of climate change and mainstream dams on food security
  24. 24. 24 NATIONA L TRADE- OFFSAll groups recognized:  Benefits were focused on power & economic themes  risks would focus on natural & social systems, particularly fisheries and hydrology & sediment  Potential for increased poverty from mainstream development despite recognition of high returns from power sales
  25. 25. 25 ENERGY ALTERNAT IVES  5 scenarios 1. BAU 2. Global renewables 3. Local renewables 4. Global energy efficiency 5. Local energy efficiency  Renewable Energy scenario (“RE scenario”) increases the renewable energy in the GMS energy generation mix by exploiting additional unplanned RE potential in place of planned conventional capacity.  Energy Efficiency scenario (“EE scenario”) reduces the
  26. 26. Building the scenarios Current PDPs Scenario Renewable Energy Scenario Energy Efficiency Scenario PLANNEDGENERATIONOUTPUT Demand reduction with energy efficiency Renewable Energy Conventional energy sources Renewable and Efficiency scenarios displace planned conventional energy capacity Alternative scenarios displace conventional capacity with different quantities of renewable energy and energy efficiency QUANTIFYI NG ALTERNAT IVES
  27. 27. 27 PRINCIPLE S FOR ALTERNAT IVES Global Concerns • Climate Change Related Energy Sources • Which conventional energy sources most affect these concerns? • Lignite • Coal • Gas Displacem ent Principles • Remove lignite, coal and gas plants in order of the quantity of emissions they produce Regional Concerns • Biodiversity and ecosystem integrity • Livelihoods and food security • Health • Regional transboundary impacts Related Energy Sources • Which conventional energy sources most affect these concerns? • Hydropower • Nuclear • Lignite and coal Displacement principles • Remove mainstream hydropower plants to eliminate their significant disturbance of ecosystems and settlements and contribution to transboundary impacts • Remove other hydropower plants, relative to their power density, number of people resettled, and their distance to the Mekong mainstream • Remove nuclear power plants to eliminate the risk associated with radioactive waste and nuclear accidents • Remove lignite and coal plants in order of the relative quantity of SOx, NOx and particulate emissions produced by fuel type
  28. 28. 28 MODELLIN G ALTERNAT IVESOptGen modelling objective:  Minimise the Net Present Value of the cost of:  Capital + Fixed O&M + Variable O&M + Fuel + Deficit + Constraint violation penalties  Subject to:  Maintaining the demand-supply balance at each system node  Power plant and interconnection capacity constraints  Water balance at
  29. 29. Large potential for solar at 76 GW Less than 2% of technical potential realised in 2010 RENEWAB LES POTENTIA L 2050 Note: 1. Only includes currently proven technologies 2. Excludes off-grid potential
  30. 30. EE potential to 2025 Additional EE potential is 17% of planned consumption Cambodia and Lao PDR assumed to have a 10% saving Vietnam more than half of energy consumption EFFICIENC Y POTENTIA L 2050
  31. 31. 31 ENERGY ALTERNAT IVES  Technically and economically feasible options for power trade and development exist in the GMS which  Meet high regional power demand rates  Not require mainstream Mekong
  32. 32. 32 1. Globally important river: The Mekong is one of the few remaining international rivers undammed over most of its length; 2. Irreversible change: One dam across the Lower Mekong mainstream commits the river to irrevocable change; 3. International tensions: The proposed developments when under construction and operating have the potential to create tensions within the LMB; 4. Impacts are unavoidable: Many of the risks associated with the proposed mainstream developments cannot be mitigated at this time – they would represent a permanent and irreversible loss of environmental, social and economic assets; 5. Weak institutional capacity: There are many and substantial gaps in institutional and procedural arrangements for ensuring the effective management of construction and operation of the projects; CONCLUS IONS
  33. 33. 33 6. Weak regulation: Critical national capacities in terms of personnel and skills are not yet in place to oversee, control, monitor and enforce safeguards and operational rules; 7. Weak safeguards: The framework of regional standards and safeguards relating to trans-boundary and downstream effects and institutional arrangements for their enforcement are not fully developed and are not adequate; 8. Big uncertainties: There are so many remaining uncertainties and serious risks associated with the developments that more studies are needed to better inform responsible decisions making; 9. Knowledge gaps: The state of knowledge about the Mekong is not considered adequate for making an informed decision about mainstream dams at this time; 10. There are technically and economically feasible options which can satisfy regional power demand without the need for Mekong mainstream hydropower. CONCLUS IONS
  34. 34. 34 THANK YOU!  For SEA documents please visit:  u  www.mrcmekong .org/ish/SEA