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North faces power shortfall, risks long periods of cuts: industry ministry

The north faces an electricity shortfall of 30.9-50.8 million kilowatt-hours a day, and so risks long periods of cuts, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Tran Viet Hoa, director of the ministry’s Electricity Regulatory Authority, said Wednesday the availability in the north, including imports, is 17,500-17,900 MW, or just 59.2% of installed capacity.

Demand is currently 20,000 MW and could increase to 23,500-24,000 MW due to the hot weather, he said.

“The north’s electricity system is at risk of undercapacity most hours of the day.”

State utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has had to resort to load shedding. On the evening of June 5 for instance it reduced supply by 3,609 MW.

Hoa said a major source of electricity in the region, hydroelectricity, has been hit by the heat and drought, which have caused water in reservoirs to dry up.

As of June 6 most large dams in the north, like Lai Chau, Son La, Tuyen Quang, Ban Chat, Hua Na, and Thac Ba, had reached dead storage levels, he said.

“Only the Hoa Binh hydropower dam has water and can generate power until June 12-13.”

The hydropower shortfall is some 5,000 MW now and is likely to rise to 7,000 MW when Hoa Binh falls to dead storage levels.

As of June 6 hydropower generation, at 3,110 MW, was only 23.7% of installed capacity.

Many thermal power plants suffer from technical issues after being forced to operate at maximum capacity for a long time.

Thermal power supply was only 11,934 MW, or 76.6% of capacity.

Tran Dinh Nhan, general director of EVN, said since mid-April there has been difficulty ensuring supply.

“The southern and the central regions have sufficient supply, but the north faces many difficulties.”

The ministry has instructed EVN to mobilize all resources, maintain thermal power output, and quickly fix glitches in power plants.

“We are trying to increase supply of thermal power,” Hoa said.

Efforts are on to quickly bring renewable power plants into the grid.

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