Early sunshine from early March in northern regions and a drought in many central and Central Highland regions have cast growing power supply pressures in 2013.
According to Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), early calculations put average power consumption in March at 355 million kWh per day. In fact, consumption reached 365 million kWh per day on early days of March.
“Power use will escalate if the hot season arrives earlier,” EVN forecasted.
Under the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MoIT) Decision 7969/QD-BCT dated December 26, 2012 approving power supply and power system operation in 2013 the plan on mobilising power from each power generation plant within the system will be scheduled in details on a monthly basis.
Accordingly, the system’s maximum capacity this year could be 20,585 megawatts and total power production and import volume would come to 133.4 billion kWh, surging 11 per cent against 2012.
The MoIT also put oil-burnt power output at 1.57 billion kWh for 2013 which reflected a noticeable upsurge over the planned 506 million kWh in 2012. In fact, actual oil-fuelled power volume last year was 159 million kWh.
MoIT experts argued the proposed high usage of oil-burnt thermo-power was based on potential power sources mobilising capacity, power loading factor and hydrographic conditions.
In reality, oil-fueled power production costs fetch high at VND4,000-5,000 per kWh, against hydro-power at VND1,000 per kWh.
“We are scaling-up efforts, striving to ensure new power sources like Quang Ninh 3 thermo-power plant and Sekaman 3 hydropower plant from Laos plug into the system on schedule and even earlier to alleviate power tension, particularly in the upcoming dry season. This will help drive down the need for using costly oil-fueled thermopower sources,” said an EVN official.
In a mid-March meeting discussing measures to support agricultural production in the central and Central Highlands region which has suffered severe drought from late 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to join the MoIT and EVN in working out special plans on water moderation, including that of hydropower plant water reservoirs.
“We may even sacrifice power generation to reserve water, giving priority to ensuring water supply to winter-spring rice crop in this thirsty [central and Central Highlands] region,” Hai said.