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Jun 08, 2023 / 10:53

Vietnam's northern region faces electricity shortage: MoIT

About 4,350 MW more electricity is needed in the north of the country.

The North of Vietnam has a deficit of 4,350 MW, which translates into an average daily shortage of 30.9-50.8 million kWh. As a result, there is a high probability of blackouts for most of the day in some parts of the region.

 Overview of the meeting. Photo: MoIT

Tran Viet Hoa, Director General of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)'s Vietnam Electricity Regulatory Authority, made the remarks on June 7 at a press conference on the electricity supply in the North.

Hoa added the combined capacity of all power sources in the North, including imported electricity, is approximately 17,500-17,900 MW, while the electricity demand in the region stands at around 20,000 MW and can spike up to 23,500-24,000 MW during hot weather conditions. 

The electricity regulator's director expressed concern that the northern power system was at high risk of not meeting demand most hours of the day. As a result, the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has been forced to cut power in the north.

Hoa attributed the blackouts to problems facing the North's two main sources of electricity, hydropower and thermal power, including the heat wave and drought, which have caused water levels in reservoirs to drop and many machines to malfunction.

As of June 6, several major hydropower reservoirs in the North, including Lai Chau, Son La, Tuyen Quang, Ban Chat, Hua Na and Thac Ba, had reached critically low levels. Hoa said the Lai Chau and Son La reservoirs operate below dead storage levels. Only the Hoa Binh Hydropower Reservoir has enough water to maintain power generation until mid-June.

Meanwhile, many thermal power plants have experienced technical problems due to prolonged operation at maximum capacity. As a result, thermal power sources could only provide 11,934 MW or 76.6% of installed capacity.

Ngo Son Hai, Deputy General Director of EVN, mentioned that the power industry has to reduce supply by 30% during hot days. This reduction translates into an average output reduction of 6-10%, depending on the day.

Meanwhile, General Director of EVN Tran Dinh Nhan added that the company has been facing challenges since mid-April in ensuring reliable power supply to customers. While the southern and central regions have been able to guarantee power supply, the northern region has faced several difficulties.

EVN management admits that they are trying to optimize the operation of the power system until the situation improves. However, the demand for electricity increases during hot weather while the supply is insufficient. As a result, there are cases where demand cannot be fully met, resulting in power cuts, Nhan said.

"We hope for the understanding and empathy of customers and the public," he said.

In this regard, Tran Viet Hoa of the Electricity Regulatory Authority emphasized their collective efforts to find solutions soon.

To find a solution, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has instructed EVN to use all available resources and technical measures to ensure the operational capacity of the thermal power plants, while accelerating the resolution of any technical issues.

Hoa said that efforts are being made to increase the use of thermal power to compensate for declining water levels in hydropower reservoirs. There is also a concerted effort to raise the water levels of major hydropower reservoirs above the dead storage capacity as soon as possible.

At the same time, the power sector focuses on accelerating the operation of transitional renewable power plants. There are currently 18 such plants in trial and commercial operation, with a total capacity of nearly 1,116 MW.