Mar 31, 2013

Vietnam - Fear about electricity shortage blazed up

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VietNamNet Bridge – The precocious summer this year with the sun turning up right in early March has led to the higher than expected electricity consumption. This, plus the drought attacks in many localities both have put a hard pressure on the electricity supply in the 2013 dry season.

According to the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the group estimated that about 355 million kwh of electricity would be consumed a day in March. However, 365 million kwh is being consumed a day in recent days. The only electricity supplier has warned that the electricity consumption would increase rapidly, if the summer comes precociously and it gets hotter which would lead to the higher demand from households.

Meanwhile, the demand for electricity is also believed to increase rapidly from production factories. A meeting was gathered late last week to discuss the measures to support the agriculture production in the central region and Central Highlands in the context of the serious drought.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has requested relevant ministries to draw up the plans to reasonably use the water from hydropower plants’ reservoirs to water the agriculture fields. Especially, the top priority task is to ensure enough water for the winter-spring crop in the region, which means that hydropower plants may have to “sacrifice” their water to rescue the rice crops.

Under the latest decision by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the maximum capacity of the power plants nationwide in 2013 would be 20,585 MW, while the total output to be provided by domestic power plants and foreign sources may reach 133.44 billion kwh, up by 11 percent over 2012.

Especially, the ministry has estimated that Vietnam would have to mobilize 1.57 billion kwh from oil-run power plants, which means the power sources which have the production costs higher than that of hydropower plants.

In 2012, Vietnam planned to use 0.506 billion kwh of electricity from oil-run power plants, including 0.271 billion kwh from FO run plants and 0.235 billion kwh from DO oil plants (only in the rainy season).

However, in fact, the electricity volume from oil run sources was 0.159 billion kwh only, according to Dau tu.

As such, the electricity volume to be mobilized from oil run power sources in 2013 would be by far higher than that in 2012. MOIT has anticipated the shortage of electricity from hydropower sources, thus planning to use more electricity from other more costly sources.

The production cost at oil run power plants remains very high, at VND4,000-5,000 per kwh. Therefore, EVN has been requested to minimize the volume of electricity from the sources.

MOIT and EVN had a meeting with the government office two days ago about the electricity supply in the dry season of 2013. EVN warned that southern provinces would lack 9.178 billion kwn in 2013, including 2.305 billion kwn in the dry season.

EVN has announced the plan to buy 3.6 billion kwh of electricity from Chinese sources in 2013, according to Dan Viet

It is estimated that the total electricity output would be 113 billion kwh, of which 64 kwh would be churned out in the dry season. The biggest worry for hydropower plants now is the lack of water. A report showed that hydropower plants’ reservoirs now lack 5.297 billion cubic meters of water, or 1.43 billion kwh of electricity.

EVN has promised to urge the investors to speed up the construction of new power plants, including the Quang Ninh thermopower plant No 3, Sekaman hydropower plant 3 so as to satisfy the additional charge in the peak season.

Ngoc Dung

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