|A view of Vinh Tan power center in Binh Thuan province. (Illustrative photo)
During the workshop, energy officials and insiders cited preliminary statistics as showing that Vietnam now imports a combined 1,000 MW of power from China and Laos, elaborating that the country is projected to buy additional 3,000 MW by 2025 and 5,000 MW by 2030.
The power sector has been maximizing efforts to ensure a consistent supply of power for domestic use since 2016. However, traditional sources used for power generation have been depleting and how to further increase domestic power generation has become a tricky issue.
Last year, the country’s total power output was estimated at 48,560 MW; of which only 28,164 MW was contributed by the Vietnam Electricity group (EVN).
In light of the revised national power development plan, nationwide power facilities set to be put into operation for the 2016-20 period are projected to generate a total of 21,650 MW. However, by 2018 the figure reached only 9,760 MW, far below the target.
Indeed, traditional power sources such as hydropower have been exhausted while the development of gas-fired power have faced considerable challenges caused by high input prices and a heavy reliance on overseas sellers.
Elsewhere, controversy remains over coal-fired power expansion as there have been increasing public concerns on the environmental impacts of coal-fueled power plants.
Though a number of solar power and wind projects have gained approval from state agencies and are currently underway, there remain low expectations on such renewable energy sources due to their heavy reliance on weather conditions.
In order to secure enough power for domestic consumption, workshop participants called for the further expansion of solar and wind power farms, as well as coal-fired power projects that must be coupled with binding requirements in terms of progress and eco-friendly production.
Under the power development plan, coal-fueled power plants, which serve as a major contributor to the national power generation, are set to account for 53.2 per cent of the total by 2030. Despite this, electricity shortages are imminent as many coal-fired power projects get stuck at different stages of the implementation process.