Jul 19, 2019 / 08:33

Vietnam considers buying more power from China, Laos

The Hanoitimes - Authorities said importing power is a temporary solution only.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) said at a meeting on July 17 that it plans to import more electricity from neighboring countries of Laos and China to feed domestic consumption, which posts double-digit growth annually. 
Tran Tuan Anh, minister of Industry and Trade, at the meeting on July 17. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, at the meeting on July 17 discussing the power import. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The temporary solution is buying more electricity from Laos and China to meet the demand as the volume from saving is just about 5%-8% of the country's demand, VnExpress cited MOIT Deputy Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong as saying. He noted that this is only short-term solution while Vietnam speeds up its scale energy projects.

The volume to be bought from Laos might reach 1,000 MW by 2020, 3,000 MW in 2025, and 5,000 MW in 2030 which are signed by the two governments. 

Meanwhile, the volume imported from China is estimated to rise from 2021 with the prices higher than those from Laos but lower than from domestic coal-fired plants (more than 7 US cent/kWh), the ministry said, giving no specific volume. 

Vietnam is estimated to suffer power shortage which is measured to equal to 3.7 billion kWh by 2021, to 10 billion kWh by 2022, 15 billion kWh in 2023, then down to around 7 billion kWh and 3.5 billion kWh in 2024 and 2025, respectively. 

Reasons of the power shortage 

At the meeting, regarding solutions for major power projects held on July 17, Phuong Hoang Kim, head of the MOIT’s Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority (EREA), said the sluggish construction of 47 out of 62 power projects with capacity from 200 MW each is attributable to the power shortage from 2020. 

It’s investors who are responsible for the sluggishness, Kim said, adding that only Vietnam Electricity (EVN) out of three big investors including Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) and Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corp (Vinacomin) fulfil its projects by deadlines.

Hoang Quoc Vuong attributed the sluggishness of two to three years as planned to changes in management and cumbersome procedures in compensation, site clearance, loan mechanism among others. 

Of the factors, Vuong emphasized the removal of the government guarantee mechanism to the slow construction. Investors face high commercial loan interest rates, he added. 

In addition, the Law on Planning has largely affected the examination and appraisal of power projects, lengthening the construction process, Vuong said, noting that nearly 400 power projects, including the big ones like Bac Lieu gas-fueled power, Ca Na gas-fueled power, and Long Son petrochemical complex are stuck with the law. 

Adding reasons to the sluggishness, MOIT Minister Tran Tuan Anh blamed cumbersome administration procedures and irresponsible investors for the situation. He asked the EREA to compile special mechanism for the undertaking of power projects.