Dry spell a disaster for hydro plants

March 15, 2011 | 16:16
Scores of hydropower plants in the south and the central regions are underperforming due to a lack of water.

Deputy general director of Thac Mo Hydropower Joint Stock Company Le Minh Tuan said the water-line at Thac Mo water reservoir was at 201 metres on March 9 compared to an average 207m in the past couples of years.

The shortfall means a loss of around 500 million cubic metres of water or 150 million kWh compared to the same period last year. 

“With this water level, the plant can only run eight hours per day. We are in the position to maintain the level up to March 31 only as after that the water may reach the death level 198m, forcing the plant to work only one-two hours per day,” said Tuan.

Tuan assumed 2011’s dry season would be tough for Thac Mo hydropower plant and the situation would not improve before July, 2011 when the flood season comes.

With a designed capacity of 150 megawatts, Thac Mo hydropower plant can add 610 million kWh to the national power system per year.

Besides Thac Mo, other hydropower plants on the Be River, the 70MW Can Don and 55MW Ksok Phu Mieng may incur the same fate as Thac Mo plant.

Tri An hydropower plant is also not an exception.

Tri An water reservoir received 7.727 billion cubic metres only in 2010, or 50 per cent of the average in the past many years and less than one-third of 2009’s.

The shortage of around 2.1 billion cubic water than normality means a loss of 300 million kWh to 400MW Tri An hydropower plant’s annual production.

Currently, Tri An produces around one million kWh per day, far lower than the average 2.4 million kWh per day in the past couples of years. The plant churned out 43 million kWh up to March 7, reaching 2.5 per cent of 2011’s projection and equal to 28.4 per cent of the output in past years, corresponding period.

“With no improvements, the plant may have to temporarily halt production by late April to wait for water when the water-line may reach the death level,” said director of Tri An Hydropower Company Nguyen Kim Phuc.

By Thanh Huong


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