LookAtVietnam – Low water levels in three major northern reservoirs threaten an electricity shortage this season in Ha Noi and throughout the north, a region dependent on hydroelectric power.
Water levels in the Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang and Thac Ba reservoirs are currently 2.6 billion cu.m below normal, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting said that the north’s rainy season this year ended a month earlier than normal, with total rainfalls for the first 11 months of the year at only 86 per cent of last year’s.
In addition to low rainfalls, the condition is also exacerbated as the Prime Minister has ordered to release water downstream for agricultural uses.
Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) deputy director Dau Duc Khoi said, “For now, the supply of electricity remains guaranteed, but the concern for maintaining the same capacity in the near future is still out there.”
The national grid was making up for shortfalls by shifting power from the southern part of the country, he said, and about a third of demand had been met by purchasing power from non-EVN suppliers and importing power from China, Khoi said.
Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang warned that if the current drought continued, the northern electrical network would face a shortage of around 350MW once the peak season commenced.
The director of the Hoa Binh hydroelectric facility, Nguyen Van Thanh, said his facility was currently running at one-fifth of its total capacity of nearly 2,000MW.
The plant contributes 20 per cent of national grid capacity, and, according to the ministry report, hydro power contributed 32.2 per cent of totalelectricity capacity during the first 11 months of the year.
With the low water levels, however, this is predicted to fall to as low as 25 per cent in the same period of 2010, or about 330 million KWh.
Statistics from Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) put average electrical demand per day at 248.6 million kWh during the first eleven months of the year, an increase of more than 24 per cent.
Demand for electricity grew 3.8 per cent in the first quarter – during the darkest days of the economic crisis – and rose by 17.3 per cent in the third quarter. Demand is forecast to grow by 12.8 per cent in the coming year.
Along with the low water levels, wasteful use of electricity has also contributed to the threat of power shortages. Growth in electrical demand was at up to 1.2 per cent per every 1 per cent growth in gross domestic product (GDP), Khoi noted.
According to Khoi, the EVN would be able to provide another 600MW of electricity by the end of this month.
Under EVN’s plan for y2009, however, the State-run utility projected it would increase capacity by 3,300MW during the year to a total of 20,400MW. To date, however, it has only been able to meet 36.4 per cent of this goal, or 1,200MW.
The ministry report predicted that growth in capacity in 2010 would total 13-15 per cent, assisted b the merger of 14 power plants next year. Nevertheless, the ministry predicted the shortage to reach 1,200MW.