No power shortages in 2020, PM orders

By Anh Minh   December 25, 2019 | 09:00 pm PT
No power shortages in 2020, PM orders
An EVN employee fixes power cables in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
The Prime Minister has ordered that there are no power shortages next year, when demand is set to rise by 9.2 percent.

"Electricity is a matter of social security, shortages cannot happen in any circumstances," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a forum Wednesday.

The electricity sector and other experts have warned of Vietnam facing power shortages in upcoming years.

The national power utility has estimated that power demand will rise by 9.2 percent to 262 billion kWh next year, and that oil-fired plants would generate 3.4-6 billion kWh, 2-3 times higher than this year.

It is considering importing more power from Laos to meet demand.

The PM has tasked the Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corp Ltd (Vinacomin), and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (Petrovietnam) to prioritize coal and gas resources for power generation.

Phuc also urged EVN to speed up upgrade of transmission lines and construction of 10 power projects.

Power consumption rose by 8.9 percent from last year to almost 240 billion kWh this year, according to the national utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN).

EVN had to mobilize 1.8 kWh from oil-fired plants this year, despite higher costs. Dry weather and ensuing water shortage saw hydropower supply decline.

Vietnam’s GDP is estimated to expand by over 7 percent this year, the second year in a row, and this has put pressure on the country’s power production as coal and gas supply dwindles and its hydropower potential is almost fully exploited.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has estimated a power shortage of 3.7 billion kWh in 2021 and a peak shortage of around 15 billion kWh in 2023 before it falls to 3.5 billion kWh in 2025.

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