Government commits to summer power availability

April 09, 2024 | 10:36
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New initiatives are being taken to help Vietnam ensure sufficient power, further strengthening investors’ trust in Vietnam.
Government commits to summer power availability
Government commits to summer power availability, photo Le Toan

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered that no power shortages will be tolerated this year in a bid to support the public and business community in their business and production activities.

“Many businesses have claimed that power shortages have undermined their performance, so we have to make the greatest efforts to provide them with sufficient electricity,” PM Chinh said at a meeting with ministries, sectors, and localities on April 1.

He required the resolute involvement of the entire political system through which 500kV circuit 1-line power lines pass to accelerate the construction of the project so that the transmission line can move into operation before July.

It is necessary to complete the compensation framework this week, complete the casting column foundations before May, and column construction before June, the PM said. “This will be a milestone in the history of the electricity industry when building a 500kV power transmission line within such a short period. To achieve this requires the involvement of the entire political system, and especially localities where the line passes through, to focus on handing over the necessary land,” PM Chinh said.

The 500kV circuit 3-line power line is funded by National Power Transmission Corporation (EVNNPT), which is a member of Vietnam Electricity (EVN). The 500kV power transmission line from Quang Trach district in the central province of Quang Binh to Pho Noi district in the northern province of Hung Yen includes four component projects.

It is a crucial project because it will increase the inter-regional transmission capacity from the current 2,200MW to about 5,000MW, contributing to ensuring future electricity supply for the northern region.

The meeting is the third of the type since this year to review and speed up the construction of the project, showing this project’s important role in ensuring a stable electric supply.

In addition, EVNNPT has established a steering committee for the project and set up four operating boards and 13 preparatory boards in cities and provinces to urgently implement the project.

Along with the direction for the 500kV circuit 3-line power line, the government also issued other requirements for ministries, and localities to speed up tasks to ensure stable power supply.

For example, in mid-February, the PM set out a directive on ensuring electricity supply, coal, and gas supply for electricity production. He also required a plan for coal production, transit warehouses, coal reserves, transportation, and control of possible extreme scenarios to ensure a sufficient and stable supply for coal-fired power plants. Under the directive, no shortage of coal for power plants should occur.

At the conference of state-owned enterprises chaired by PM Chinh in late March, EVN chairman Dang Hoang An vowed not to repeat the power shortages of last year.

“To ensure power supply in 2024, EVN is speeding up investment in power generation and grid projects worth a combined $4.25 billion. Key projects include the upgrade of the Yaly and Hoa Binh hydropower plants, the Quang Trach 1 thermal power plant, preparing investment for the Quang Trach 2 LNG-to-power plant and construction of the expanded Tri An hydropower plant,” An said.

The preparation is to meet a scenario of high growth in power consumption this year. According to EVN, the power consumption in 2024 may reach an increase of 9.18 per cent, where electricity output could reach 306.4 billion kWh, up 26 billion kWh from 2023.

These preparations will also reassure the foreign-invested enterprises community after the power cut situation for a long time last year.

At the 2024 Vietnam Business Forum in March, representatives of businesses from various chambers of commerce expressed their concern about their expansion plans if the power shortage was not resolved thoroughly.

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) in Vietnam said there was a serious power shortage in the northern region, especially in industrial parks, last summer. As a result, some member companies were considering reviewing their global production systems.

The JCCI put forward suggestions for the Vietnamese government to consider for the smooth operation of the manufacturing sector, including stable power supplies to industrial areas; advanced notice of power outages and power saving requests with time to adjust; and incentives for companies that save power and generate electricity.

Previously in 2023, EVN invested $3.79 billion in power projects and disbursed $3.64 billion, the highest amount among all state-owned groups. It kickstarted almost 150 power projects and completed work on over 160 grids with a capacity of 100-500kV.

However, consumption growth caused power shortages across the northern region early last summer, affecting the production and livelihoods of firms and retail consumers. For the whole year, power consumption nationwide rose 4.56 per cent on-year to 280.6 billion kWh.

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By Oanh Nguyen

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