Projects to address big power shortages

January 12, 2011 | 08:00
January saw many big power projects kick-off, promising a plentiful electricity sources for Vietnam.
The nation is expected to endure a fierce dry season in 2011

State-run Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) last week successfully connected the first turbines of the 2,400 megawatt Son La hydropower project to the national grid.

By January 7, after a month’s trial, Son La plant’s first 400MW turbines were producing up to 100 million kilowatt hours of power.

The Son La plant, which has a total of six turbines, is located between the 1,200MW Lai Chau hydropower plant and the 1,920MW Hoa Binh plant in the northern mountainous region.

EVN started the construction of the Son La in December 2005 and it will be able to supply 10.2 billion kWh of power every year to the country. The investor will complete the project’s construction in 2012, three years ahead of schedule.

Alstom was chosen for providing design, engineering, manufacturing and delivery of 6x400 MW Francis turbines and generators, and balance of the plant, as well as training and supervision of installation, testing and commissioning to Son La.

According to EVN’s deputy general director Dang Hoang An the first turbines’ commercial operation would add more than one billion kWh per year, to the country this year.

However, An noted that a possible lack of water in the dry season, from January to June, would disrupt stable operations.

The Son La hydropower plant reservoir’s water level had reached 192.5 metres, higher than the 175m dead level, but lower than the common 215m level.

Water levels in the Red and Thai Binh rivers in northern region in the current dry season are reported to be 30-40 per cent lower than previous years, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

On January 7 and 8, EVN also successfully connected the first turbines of the 190MW Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant in central Quang Nam province and the 180MW Dong Nai 3 hydropower plant in the Central Highlands to the national grid.

The Song Tranh 2 project, built from March 2006, has two 95MW turbines, which are capable to produce nearly 680 million kWh of power each year. The second turbine  will be completed and put it into commission late this month.

The Dong Nai 3 project also has two turbines with each having designed capacity of 90MW, producing an overall 607 million kWh of power per annum.

Beside the operation of those major hydropower projects, EVN broke ground on the 1,200MW Lai Chau hydropower plant on January 5, which will be capable to supply  4.67 billion kWh after completion.

The Lai Chau plant  has a total investment capital of VND35.7 trillion ($1.83 billion). The first turbine is scheduled to become commissioning in 2016.

State-run PetroVietnam, one of  three biggest power producers in Vietnam, has broken ground on the  1,200MW Long Phu coal-fired power project in southern Soc Trang province.

The plant will have its first turbine coming online in 2014 and the second turbine in 2015.

By Lien Huong

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