Northern hydropower dams remain dry

By Anh Minh   June 13, 2023 | 08:47 pm PT
Northern hydropower dams remain dry
The water level in the Hoa Binh Reservoir was only 22.8 m above the dead storage level on June 13, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Minh
Many hydroelectric dams in the north continue to languish without water, and have been forced to either stop power generation or run well below capacity.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said Tuesday the water level is 271.9 m, 6.9 m above the dead storage level (threshold for safe electricity generation), in the Lai Chau Reservoir; 176.7 m, 1.7 m above the level, in the Son La Reservoir; and 102.8 m, 22.8 m above the level, in the Hoa Binh Reservoir.

To conserve water for the upcoming hot days, four hydropower plants, Tuyen Quang, Lai Chau, Son La, and Thac Ba, did not operate on Tuesday.

Pham Van Vuong, director of the Hoa Binh Hydropower Company, said the inflows in the past few days have been very low, and if "The plant generates 46-47 million kWh of electricity a day, the water level in the reservoir will drop below the safety threshold within 12-13 days."

The situation has "never been so difficult," he said.

Hoa Binh had planned to generate 9.8 billion kWh of electricity in 2023, but has only realized 37% of the plan, he said.

"Water at the Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant used to fall to [low levels], but I have never seen water at dams in the north simultaneously approach dead storage levels like now."

According to the ministry, it rained Tuesday afternoon in the northern provinces of Lao Cai and Ha Giang, and water is predicted to flow into reservoirs in downstream areas by June 16.

Nevertheless, large plants such as Lai Chau and Son La will remain switched off to conserve water for hotter days.

According to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, in the next 10 days water flows into hydropower reservoirs will be very low.

The ministry has warned electricity supply in the north will be 30.9-50.8 million kWh short of daily demand, and shortages are likely at any time of the day.

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