Threat of power crisis slowly lifts

April 01, 2013 | 15:35
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A steady flow of electricity from new energy projects should ensure that Vietnam avoids the power shortages that often bedeviled business operations last year.

Tran Khac Thi, vice head of Electricity of Vietnam’s (EVN) Planning Section, offered this assurance during a meeting between the Ministry of Planning and Investment and representatives from ministries and localities regarding Vietnam’s production prospects last week.

“Power production for this year’s first quarter grew 9.4 per cent on-year. We are sure that there will not be any power shortage this year,” Thi said. “It is because EVN will put into operation many major power projects and increase investment into power projects.”

He said next month would see the 110 megawatt (MW) second turbine of the 220MW Ban Chat hydropower plant in northwestern Lai Chau province’s Tan Uyen district become operation, while the plant’s 110MW first turbine began operation in early February. This plant would annually make 769.7 million kilowatt hours (kWh).

Also the first 300MW turbine of the Nghi Son 1 thermopower plant in northern Thanh Hoa province would come into operation in this year’s fourth quarter, and the plant’s second 300MW turbine would do the same in next year’s second quarter. This plant would annually produce 3.6 billion kWh.

Thi also said EVN would try to put into operation the Duyen Hai 1 thermopower plant in southern Tra Vinh province in this year and the Vinh Tan 2 thermopower plant in south central Binh Thuan province in early 2014. The two-turbine 1,245MW $1.57 billion Duyen Hai 1 would also generate 7.2 billion kWh annually, while the two-turbine 1,244MW, $1.13 billion Vinh Tan 2 would annually churn out 7.2 billion kWh.

He said EVN was also completing construction of many big transmission lines in northern and southern regions, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. For instance, in February, EVN began operation of the 220 kilovolt Son La - Huoi Quang and Huoi Quang-Ban Chat transmission line in Lai Chau province. Notably, operation was also begun for the 220kV Van Tri-Soc Son transmission line and the 220kV Van Tri station in February. “These lines are very important in providing power for northern localities, especially Hanoi,” Thi said.

EVN has invested over VND9 trillion ($432.7 million) into power projects in this year’s first three months and the figure will total VND116,605 billion ($5.6 billion) this year.

“This year, reservoirs are expected to have less water than previous years, making it difficult for EVN to produce power. EVN will have to use oil to make power,” he said.

According to EVN, total demand for power this year would grow 12.6 per cent on-year, with total demand of commercial power reaching 117 billion kWh. Meanwhile, total power volume produced and imported would be 130.5 billion kWh.

In January this year, EVN’s chairman Hoang Quoc Vuong promised Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that “no power shortages will be seen in 2013,” because in late last year, the six-turbine 2,400MW Son La Hydropower Plant in Lai Chau province came online. Also about 25 power projects would join the local power market this year, such as the 720MW Pleikrong, the 360 MW Sesan 4, the 772.7MW Ca Mau 1 and 2, and the 387.8MW Ba Ria.

The Vietnamese power industry last year produced 114.84 billion kWh, up 13.1 per cent on-year.
Power provided for the construction industry rose 9.7 per cent, power for hotels and restaurants augmented 14.8 per cent, and power for public consumption climbed 11.9 per cent, as compared to 2011.

By Thanh Thu

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