Risk of electricity shortage is available

VCN- Vietnam basically guarantees electricity supply in 2020. However, in the period of 2021-2024, the reality of electricity shortage is very clear, despite the fact that Vietnam has had to mobilize electricity from expensive oil resources.
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Risk of electricity shortage is available
The risk of an electricity shortage during 2021-2024 is clear. Photo: Nguyen Thanh

Electricity shortage will be peak in 2023

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, total electricity production and import of the national electricity system in 2020 is expected to hit261.46 billion kWh, up 8.9% compared to 2019.

Tran Tue Quang, Deputy Director of the Electricity Regulatory Authority (Ministry of Industry and Trade) said that in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the social distance the national electricity system's additional charge wouldreduce significantly. However, electricity for household consumption increased on hot days of 40 degrees, even 42 degrees Celsius, putting pressure on the electricity industry to provide electricity. Imbalance of electricity supply and demand in 2020 could happen if more extreme situations continued to occur such as: Hydrology continued to be unfavourable in the coming rainy months; incidents of large power plants in the system; the risk of lack of primary fuel (coal, oil orgas) and additional charges increased sharply.

"The Ministry of Industry and Trade has instructed Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) and units must mobilize maximum power sources in the national electricity system to ensure enough electricity supply in all situations of 2020for socio-economic development and people's life. To meet electricity demand, especially when there is abnormal demand or major incidents of power plants...,, in the remaining months of this year, in addition to mobilisingpower sources including renewable energy, coal-fired thermal power, gas-fired thermal power, the electricity sector also considers high-cost oil-producing power sources," said the leader of the Electricity Regulatory Authority.

According to the EVN's calculations, the forecast of additional charge demand in the period of 2021-2025 continues to grow at the rate forecast in the revised Electricity Planning VII (up 8.6% per year). Theadditional charge demand in 2025 will reach 394.5 billion kWh. Meeting electricity demand in this period will face many difficulties, being likely to occur electricity shortage (2023is forecasted to be shortage of 13 billion kWhwhile oil production is nearly 11 billion kWh)if some solutions are not deployed immediately such as promoting the development of renewable energy(wind power, solar power), increasing purchasing power from regional countries.

In the Ministry of Industry and Trade's report to the Prime Minister at the startof May, signed by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang QuocVuong on considering and supplementing planning of wind power projects, the Ministry of Industry and Trade also gave the approximate number. The supply-demand balance in 2021-2025 showed the risk of electricity shortagein the period of 2021-2024.The electricity shortage would increase from 400 million kWh in 2021 to the highest of 13.3 billion kWh in 2023. In 2024, the output shortage would reduce to about 11 billion kWh. By 2025,the electricity system could meet the additional charge demandif the using progress of gas-electric projectsBlock B, Blue Whale gas such asO Mon III, IV; Central mixture gas turbines 1, 2, Dung Quat I, III and power sources using liquefied natural gas (LNG) such as NhonTrach 3, 4 and Bac Lieu 1 finish onschedule.

"Flood" because electricity source is behind schedule

Why if there is a clear plan for each stage of development is it that Vietnam is increasingly facing more severe electricity shortages? This question was exchanged with energy expert Nguyen Thanh Son, a reporter of the Customs News received the answer - the key point was the power development projects are much behind schedule of the electricity industry. Most coal-fired thermal power plant projects of non-EVN investors such as Vietnam Petrol Group (PVN),Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industry Group, domestic private companies and foreign companiesare behind schedule. The cause of the slow progress and increasing capital is that to the investors of the coal-fired thermal power plant project lack capacity (finance, technology, experience)and loose management,"Nguyen Thanh Son said.

In terms of specific data, the Ministry of Industry and Trade stated that the revised electricity planVII planned the national power system capacity to reach 60,000 MWby 2020to meet the demand for additional charge with a stable and reliable speed. In particular, the proportion of renewable energy (including small hydro, wind power, solar power andbiomass energy) would be 9.9%. However, total power capacity of the system in 2020 was only about 56,000 MW, about 4,000 MW lower than the number approved in the revised electricity planVII. Notably, reviewing the progress of power sources in accordance with the revised electricity planVIIshows that most thermal power sources were delayed by 1-2 years, even some projects were delayed by 4-5 years.

Deputy Minister Hoang QuocVuong assessed the characteristics of energy projects were large scale, most thermal projects had a total investment of more thanUS$2 billion, the construction period is relatively long with thousands of complex items. Therefore, the investor could not find a qualified contractor, which led to the possibility of many years.

Looking forward to renewable energy

To ensure no shortage of electricity for socio-economic development in the period of 2021-2025, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and EVN have calculated, reviewed and proposed many solutions, the first solution is to promote the development of recycled power sources. Considering a feasible and effective solution to supplement the electricity source in accordance with the current mechanism and policies of the Government for encouraging renewable energy, the Ministry of Industry and Trade makes the argument:"renewable power projects can be constructed quickly and promptly put into operation in 2021-2023,taking advantage of the country's environmentally and friendly natural potential without depending on imported fuels.”

In addition, to solve the power shortage in the south, the Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed a plan to mobilize HiepPhuoc power plant back, convert fuel for HiepPhuoc Thermal Power Plant (3x125 MW)from using FO oil to using LNG and invest, install additional threegas turbines (270 MW per turbine),increasing the capacity of the plant to 1,185 MW."HiepPhuoc Thermal Power Plant is located in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City, near the additional charge centre, with some existing infrastructure, so that it is likely to ensure the schedule of operation expected in 2022-2023," theMinistry of Industry and Trade representative said.

In addition to these solutions, the Ministry of Industry and Trade also considered a plan to increase import of electricity from China through a 220 kV voltage supply through the direction of Lao Cai and Ha Giang with total import capacity of about 2,000 MW, corresponding output of about 9 billion kWh per year (from 2023); at the same time, accelerating the implementation of the electricity saving and electricity demand management program (DSM), adjusting the electricity additional charge (DR).

By Thanh Nguyen/ Binh Minh

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