Power shortage looms until 2050: lawmakers

By Anh Minh   October 15, 2023 | 11:47 pm PT
Power shortage looms until 2050: lawmakers
Hanoi electricity workers in June 2023. Photo courtesy of  EVNHANOI
With the construction of many large power plants stalling or slowing and the dependence on imports for energy increasing, electricity shortages are possible until 2050, lawmakers fear.

According to a report on energy development in 2016-21 done recently by a supervisory team form the National Assembly Standing Committee, Vietnam’s primary energy resources are increasingly depleting with hydropower being fully tapped and oil and gas output in some major fields decreasing rapidly.

Generation varies between regions with some power projects like Na Duong II, Quynh Lap I, Cam Pha III, Ca Voi Xanh, LNG Thi Vai, and LNG Son My slow to be completed, and some others grinding to a halt.
The delays led to shortages in the north in May and June.

A World Bank report published in August estimated Vietnam’s losses due to the electricity shortages at US$1.4 billion, or 0.3% of GDP.

Experts warn about continuing shortages in the north since no new plants are going on stream in the next two years.

The risk of power shortages, especially in 2024-25, was also flagged by Vietnam Electricity (EVN) in a recent report to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

It expected there would be "basically enough electricity" in 2024, but said in 2025 the north could face a shortage of 6.8 billion kWh during the peak dry season in May-July. But a slew of new plants is scheduled to go on stream at the end of 2025.

Besides facilitating the construction of power plants and undertaking grid works to transmit electricity to the north, EVN also plans to step up power purchases from Laos.

Also according to the report, investment in power plants and power grids in 2016-21 was inadequate. The grid connection and power transmission capacities did not meet the needs of renewable energy plants in the central region.

Power generation is insufficient in the north and a stable and efficient linkage with Southeast Asia has yet to be set up.

According to the report, annual electricity output and imports increased 50.8% between 2015 and 2020 to 247 billion kilowatt-hours. Consumption also rose 50% to nearly 217 billion kilowatt-hours.

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