Vietnam may increase imports from China to ease electricity shortage

03:02' PM - Friday, 18/10/2019

In the context of a serious electricity shortage, importing electricity from China is unavoidable.

The report about the power sector of VietinBank Securities released recently showed that under the seventh Power Development Plan, Vietnam’s merchandise electricity output is estimated to reach 235-245 billion kwh by 2020, 352-379 billion kwh by 2025, and soar to 506-559 billion by 2030.

Regarding electricity consumption, the growth rate would be 8.42 percent in 2020-2025 and 7.53 percent in 2025-2030. Meanwhile, the electricity generation capacity would also increase proportionally. The total capacity by 2020 is expected to reach 60,000 MW and increase by 1.5 times to 96,500 MW by 2025, and double to 129,500 MW by 2030.

However, an official report of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) released in June 2019 showed that of 62 power plants with the capacity of more than 200 MW, 47 projects have been going very slowly. Therefore, the total capacity of power sources that could become operational may be lower by 10,000 MW than planned.

By the end of 2019, the provisioning system would be exhausted and from early 2021, Vietnam would see a serious electricity shortage. The southern region is to incur the most serious electricity shortage with the lack of 3.7 billion kwh by 2020 and 10 billion kwh by 2021. The figure would be 12 billion kwh by 2023.

According to VietinBank Securities, Vietnam’s hydropower potential has nearly been fully exploited. The locations suitable for large-scale hydropower exploitation are running out.

In pre-2013 years, hydraulic power was the major electricity source of Vietnam. However, hydropower depends on rainfall, so the electricity shortage has occurred in El Nino years.

Meanwhile, the climate and weather have become more severe and drought occurs frequently. Hydropower no longer can be a stable source of electricity supply.

As a result, the proportion of hydropower in the power source structure has been decreasing and hydropower has been gradually replaced by coal-fired thermal power.

Under the power development plan, Vietnam would develop coal-fired thermopower to turn thermopower into the major source of supply instead of hydropower. The coal-fired power output has been increasing, accounting for 50 percent of total output.

The increasingly high demand for electricity has forced Vietnam to seek new supply sources to ensure energy security. Though Vietnam’s power installation capacity has increased sharply in recent years, the electricity shortage still continues. Vietnam still has to import electricity from Laos and China to satisfy domestic demand which increases sharply in dry season.

According to VietinBank Securities, the electricity volume to be imported from 2020 would be double compared with 2018. - VNN -

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