The Deo Ca Tunnel in Vietnam opened to traffic yesterday morning after eight years of construction – and BSL Eco Energy celebrated the occasion alongside thousands of Vietnamese who will now enjoy faster and safer travels.
But there is another reason why we should celebrate. BSL Eco Energy recently installed 125 solar panels on the roof of the Deo Ca Tunnel Monitoring Centre. It’s not a large installation, as far as installations go – but it’s still a pretty big deal.
It’s a pilot project. And if it goes well, it will pave the way for a significant portion of Vietnam’s most important highway to be powered by solar energy.
Vietnam’s Highway 1A snakes over 2,000km, connecting 32 provinces from North to South Vietnam. First built in the early 20th century by French colonists, the highway traverses a diverse landscape of rivers, villages, cities, paddy fields, coastlines and mountains.
The mountain passes of Vietnam are legendary. They boast breathtakingly beautiful views, sometimes obscured by mist, untouched and majestic. But the mountain passes are also dangerous. They climb and descend steeply through twists and turns, sometimes taking motorists heart-stoppingly close to plummeting cliffs and ravines. Unfortunately, many lives have been claimed on the passes over the years, particularly in severe weather.
One of the measures taken to improve the safety of the mountain passes is to build tunnels that burrow through the mountains – a gargantuan undertaking, to be sure, but one that’s proven to be very much safer and results in dramatically shorter travel times.
Deo Ca Investment JSC, Vietnam, has undertaken to build, operate and transfer 5 tunnels along this infamous highway. The project spans about 70km, including some 13km of tunnels, new roads, bridges, toll collection systems, rest areas and traffic control centres.
The first of these tunnels, the 500m Co Ma Tunnel, was completed in March 2016.
The second of these, the Deo Ca Tunnel, was launched on Monday 21 August. This 4.1km tunnel links the central provinces of Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa, and will cut down a 45 minute journey down to a mere 10, whilst allowing motorist to avoid some of Vietnam’s most landslide prone-roads. The next three tunnels are scheduled to be completed by 2020.
Vietnam’s renewable energy industry has seen rapid growth in the recent months, with the Vietnamese Government announcing Feed-In-Tariff schemes for utility solar projects and net metering schemes for rooftop PV systems, amongst other exciting initiatives. In line with this push, Deo Ca Investment was keen to explore powering their infrastructure with solar energy – starting first with their flagship TMC.
A Tunnel Monitoring Centre (TMC) is the brain that keeps a tunnel running safely and efficiently. It’s from here that critical parameters such as lights, ventilation, fire detection and extinguishers, CCTVs, weather and visibility data and carbon monoxide concentrations and monitored and managed.
BSL Eco Energy is thrilled to be part of this pilot project, and is looking forward to supporting Vietnam in achieving its renewable energy commitments in the days to come.