IPP | Staff Reporter, Vietnam

This chart shows how ambitious Vietnam's hydroelectric development plan is

Capacity is projected to jump to 27.8GW by 2030.

The development of hydroelectric power in China—including the world's biggest hydropower plant at Three Gorges Dam—is substantially larger than planned expansions of hydroelectric power capacity in other countries of Southeast Asia. This is according EIA's recently published International Energy Outlook 2016.

EIA said in the report that the smaller countries in the region have announced plans to construct a combined total of 78 gigawatts (GW) of new hydroelectric generating capacity by the end of 2020. If those projects are completed, total hydropower capacity in the smaller countries will triple their combined 2012 capacity of 39 GW.

Here's more from EIA's outlook:

Many of the countries in Southeast Asia have access to the immense hydroelectric potential of the lower Mekong River, which flows through or borders China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Hydroelectric power potential in the Greater Mekong Region (which includes Mekong tributaries) is estimated to be between 175 GW and 250 GW.

China already has constructed 6 major dams along the upper portion of the Mekong, and as of 2010 another 71 Mekong hydroelectric dams were proposed for completion in other Southeast Asia countries by 2030 [175]. Vietnam, Indonesia, Bhutan, and Laos already have announced plans for significant additions to hydroelectric capacity in the Mekong region, as well as projects centered on other hydroelectric resources.

Vietnam has the most ambitious hydroelectric development plan in Southeast Asia, with plans to increase total hydroelectric capacity to 21.6 GW in 2020 and to 27.8 GW by 2030. One of the largest planned projects is Trung Son, to be located on the Ma River in northern Vietnam (which is not a Mekong tributary), with an expected capacity of 360 megawatts (MW).

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