Brand new mindset required for proper usage of electricity

May 24, 2024 | 10:24
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Electricity in Vietnam is being used at inferior efficiency compared to other countries, which is providing a challenge to find solutions on effectively using and saving it.

At last week’s roundtable themed “Saving electricity - From policy to life,” organised by the Vietnam Government Portal, Vo Quang Lam, deputy general director of Vietnam Electricity (EVN), said that the country consumes 2-3 times more energy than other countries because of inefficient usage.

Brand new mindset required for proper usage of electricity
Brand new mindset required for proper usage of electricity, Photo: Le Toan

“For example, to generate $1,000 for the economy, we use about 376 tonnes of oil (in equivalent), while the global average is only 170 tonnes, Singapore is 99 tonnes, and Japan is 90 tonnes.”

Lam added that it was a challenge for Vietnam to improve energy usage efficiency and save electricity when the supply was struggling.

In the first four months of the year, commercial electricity reached 96.2 billion kWh, an increase of 12.4 per cent on year, while the growth of 2023 was 4.26 per cent compared to 2022. This is the highest growth rate in recent years.

Tran Dinh Thien, former director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said that Directive No.20/CT-TTg issued in 2023 on electricity saving provided a new approach, as a national action programme with specific targets, which is being deployed across the country at all levels.

Thien emphasised that to use electricity effectively, supply was critical. “We can see the huge room for saving electricity. In the coming years, the government should improve education to raise awareness that electricity is a valuable resource. Electricity saving should become a cultural feature for every person,” he said.

Ha Dang Son, director of the Centre for Energy and Green Growth Research, said that in developed countries, training and education on saving electricity and natural resources were carried out very early in the education system. He highlighted sanctions that were used for traffic violations and to prevent drink-driving as an effective approach that could be replicated.

“Saving electricity and natural resources needs such heavy sanctions instead of the current regulations, which are mostly encouraging and educational,” Son said.

Tran Anh Tuan from Panasonic Vietnam said the company had been implementing practical solutions to save electricity, but still had to ensure safe production.

“We ask employees to turn off electrical equipment not in use; maintain and renovate equipment to improve electricity efficiency; and encourage and propose electricity saving ideas in every department and division,” Tuan said.

Moreover, Panasonic Vietnam has replaced all lighting in the company with energy-saving LED lights, renovated the air conditioners in the workshop, and installed automatic power off sensors, as well as reviewed and optimised the use of compressed air in production,

Nguyen Viet Son, deputy director of Vinh Phuc Department of Industry and Trade, said that to effectively save electricity, there must be good coordination and implementation among state management agencies, electricity distribution, and electricity customers.

“For customers in residential areas, Vinh Phuc has introduced electricity saving solutions through the local radio system, while the business sector focuses on large customers and businesses in numerous industries that consume a lot of energy,” Son said.

EVN has been focused on applying technologies to save electricity, like modernising the metering system. About 92 per cent of electricity meters across the country are now electronic.

Currently, EVN is interested in implementing further electricity-saving solutions in industrial production customers, which account for a high proportion of electricity usage. This energy customer group used 107 billion kWh out of 253 billion kWh of commercial electricity in 2023.

“Of the 30.86 million electricity purchase contracts signed with EVN, the number of key energy-using businesses (using over one million kWh per year) was nearly 19,700, but their electricity consumption accounts for more than 40 per cent of total commercial electricity. If we do a good job of using electricity economically and effectively in the business sector, there will be opportunities to save a lot of electricity,” Lam of EVN said.

This year, EVN has set a target of saving 5.5 billion kWh, but will strive to save about six billion.

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