GE’s impressions in Son La - Lai Chau Hydropower Projects

Lai Chau Hydropower Project finished one year ahead of the schedule, Son La Hydropower Plant was accomplished 3 years ahead of schedule. These great achievements acknowledge intellectual power of Vietnamese workforces in the power sector, as well as a noteworthy contribution of General Electric (GE) – the main equipment supplier for these two projects.

Flexibility in equipment manufacturing and shipping

When performing Son La hydropower project, GE coped with a lot of actual objective difficulties and obstacles in equipment manufacturing and shipping, it was vital that GE would have to handle really flexibly to be able to complete the project ahead of schedule.

In accordance with the contract for Son La hydropower project, the time interval between power units for equipment manufacturing finalization were only 40 days, instead of 120 days as the normal practice. However, the engineering team of Son La hydropower project decided to do hydraulic research in advance in order to develop the most advanced model for the project. As a result, the model was admitted by Vietnam to have high efficiency and stability; and GE delivered six discharge rings and spiral casings ahead of schedule.

Turbine model supplied by GE to Son La - Lai Chau hydropower projects.

The equipment manufacturing and delivery schedule had been deliberately considered by GE to suit the waterway transportation conditions in Vietnam.  For instance, in order to manufacture and deliver the turbine runner of power unit no. 6 on schedule, GE established a team fully dedicated to manufacturing this equipment and the team worked full time 24 hours per day during two continuous months. Furthermore, in order to secure the installation schedule, GE had to use trucks to transport equipment via Vietnam – China border line for many times. Thanks to such a flexibility and proactivity during equipment manufacturing and transport process, GE contributed its efforts to commissioning and putting Son La hydropower project into operation in 2012, 3 years ahead of schedule.

Further success

In Lai Chau hydropower project, GE undertook responsibility for designing, mentoring installation and start-up of three 400 MW Francis turbines, generators, governors, static excitation system and Distributed Control System (DCS) of the plant. Mr. Fabio Nossaes said: “Lai Chau hydropower plant has technical parameters similar to Son La hydropower plant, therefore we do not need to do hydraulic research and model testing again. The project implementation duration thus is shortened 6 months”.

Such a timely equipment manufacturing and shipping considerably contributed to realization of operation milestones of power units of Lai Chau hydropower project in December 2015 (unit 1), June 2016 (unit 2) and November 2016 (unit 3), and inauguration of the entire project in December 2016. From this moment, Lai Chau hydropower plant shall supply approximately 4.7 billion kWh per year to the national power system. In addition, a financial saving of around VND 5000 billion was gained thanks to the project accomplishment earlier than the targeted schedule.

The successes of Son La – Lai Chau hydropower projects have convinced EVN and the Government of Vietnam that GE always undertakes their commitments. Mr. Nguyen Cuong Lam – EVN’s Vice President affirmed: “We do hope that our close cooperation with GE shall lead to further successful projects in the future”.


  • 23/02/2017 11:49
  • evn.com.vn