Officials in Vietnam have inaugurated the largest hydroelectric plant in Southeast Asia, whose construction began in 2005 at It Ong, and which will produce 10 billion KWH a year to cover the growing domestic demand, media reports said Monday.

The project, completed three years before originally projected, was inaugurated on Sunday by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on land expropriated from some 20,000 members of ethnic minorities, Vietnam Net reported.

Officials also count on the work to help prevent at least some of the flooding during the monsoon season, to provide water in the dry season, and to boost the economy.

Vietnam's gross domestic product grew by an average of 7 percent over the past decade and will be up some 5.7 percent in 2012 and 6.2 percent in 2013, according to estimates of the Asian Development Bank.

The nation's energy demand will grow at an annual pace of 10 to 12 percent between 2011 and 2015, according to the World Bank.

Industries are responsible for some 47 percent of electricity consumption in Vietnam, another 34 percent goes to transport and commerce, and the rest is more or less equally divided between services and agriculture. EFE