Vietnam to import power from Laos to ease shortage: report

By VnExpress   November 23, 2016 | 11:00 am PT
Vietnam to import power from Laos to ease shortage: report
Workers check electrical equipment at a transformer station in the Central Highlands. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Ha
The country has upgraded transmission grids to accommodate the purchase.

Vietnam is negotiating with Laos on electricity prices as it may need to import power from the neighbor for its fast growing economy, local media has reported, citing trade deputy minister Hoang Quoc Vuong.

Demand for electricity is expected to grow 13 percent annually in the next four years.

Meanwhile, the country’s total output in 2016 is forecast to increase by just 12 percent to 184 billion kWh from last year, Nguyen Hai Ha, an executive of state utility EVN told the Saigon Times.

In the short term, the government has planned to bridge the supply-demand gap by importing electricity from Laos, which will build four more hydropower plants in 2017. Vietnam has upgraded transmission grids to accommodate the imports.

EVN estimated the total output of locally produced and imported electricity this year will reach 175.9 billion kWh.

Vietnam's economy has expanded by more than 5 percent a year on average since 1999 and growth is forecast to reach 6.5-7 percent in the next four years.

The country has mapped out a blueprint for the development of the power sector. The plan foresees VND3,207 trillion ($142 billion) worth of investments in generation and distribution capacity through to 2030. Some $40 billion will be invested between 2016 and 2020, of which about 75 percent will go to generation.

It is estimated that Vietnam will need 330-362 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2020 and 695-834 billion kWh in 2030 to achieve the average annual economic growth rate of 7 percent.

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