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Serious energy shortage despite running oil-fired power

13:50 | 17/11/2019

VCN- In the years 2019-2020, the electricity system can meet the electricity demand for socio-economic development. In the 2021-2025 period, the delay of many large power projects and gas project chains will causea power shortage for the system. Notably, this scenario will still happeneven if we mobilize all power sources, including expensive oil power sources.

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Strengthening investment in renewable energy is an option to reduce power shortage pressure. Photo: Duc Phong.

Power shortage in the period of 2021-2025

The National Steering Committee on electricity development has just released a report on the implementation of projects in the National Electricity Development Plan (Electricity Planning VII), adjusted to the third quarter of 2019.

Accordingly, in the years 2019-2020, the electricity system can meet the electricity demand for socio-economic development. However, because the electricity system has almost no backup power sources,in 2020, there is a risk of power shortage in extreme situations such as: demand for electricity is higher than forecast, the water flow to reservoirs is poor, coal and gas fuel for power generation is insufficient as expected.

In the period 2021-2025, the annual electricity output needs to supplement 26.5 billion kWh/year. However, because many large power projects and gas project chains are behind schedule, there will be power shortagesduring the period 2021-2025.

Notably, this scenario still happens even if we mobilize all the power sources, including the expensive oil-powered sources (the price of VND5,000-6,000/kWh depends on the oil price).

Regarding investment in power projects, the report stated that: Currently, with the implementation of 62 projects with a large capacity of over 200 MW, 15 projects have reached progress, the remaining 47 projects are behind schedule or unspecified as compared to the schedule stated in the adjusted electricity master plan VII.

For example, with projects implemented by Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), in the period 2016-2030, the EVN was assigned to invest in 24 projects with a total capacity of over 15,200 MW. In the period 2016-2020, fourteen projects need to be completed with a total capacity of over 7,100 MW. Out of 24 projects, nine projects have been completedand fifteen projects are in the stage of construction investment or investment preparation. It is expected that six projects are on schedule and nine projects are behind schedule.

Vietnam Oil and Gas Group is assigned to be the investor of eight key power projects with a total capacity of 11,400 MW. There are three projects in the 2016-2020 period and five projects in the 2021-2025 period. So far, all eight projects have faced difficultiesand cannot meetthe schedule in the adjusted VII electricity plan.

Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Group operates four projects with a total capacity of nearly 3,000 MW. In particular, it hastwo projects in the period 2016-2020 and two projects in the period 2021-2030. Currently, all four projects are behind schedule by two years or more.

Rely on solar power?

In order to meet the electricity demand in the period of serious energy shortage from 2021 to 2025, the Steering Committee also mentioned two options developed and calculated by EVN.

Option 1: Balance the electricity supply-demand for the period 2021-2025 according to the progress of current projects.

In this scenario, it will be required to mobilize all power sources on the system, of which oil-fired thermal power sources are expected to be mobilized in the whole period of 2020-2025 with output of up to 5-10 billion kWh/year (the highest is 2023 with an output of about 10.5 billion kWh). The price of oil-powered sources is expensive, at VND5,000-6,000/kWh,depending on the time.

Even so, the system is still facesa shortage of electricity in the period 2021-2024. The deficit in 2021 will be 6.3 billion kWh, and the peak will be in 2022 with 8.9 billion kWh, in 2023 will be 6.8 billion kWh, then decrease to 1.2 billion kWh in 2024. In 2025, there is no shortage of electricity.

In addition to the scenario of electricity shortage above, the report also mentioned option 2 to prevent power shortage.

Accordingly, EVN has calculated the need to develop renewable energy sources nationwide. The total capacity of national wind power sources to 2023 will be around 6,000 MW and the total capacity of solar power sources till 2023 will be around 16,000 MW.

Therefore, the total capacity of wind power sources that need to be encouraged to put into operation from now to 2023 is about 5,700 MW and the solar power source is approximately 11,400 MW.

"With the solution of adding more electricity from Hiep Phuoc power plant and increasing renewable energy sources, the system can meet enough electricity and does not have to mobilize oil thermal power sources in the 2021-2025 period," the report stated.

Of course, regardingrenewable energy development, especially solar power, many experts worry that in some localities, the transmission system is not keeping up with the capacity of solar power plants and this problem is not easy to solve in the short term.

Talking to the Customs News, energy expert Nguyen The Mich said that with transmission alone, EVN and the investors must immediately work together to solve infrastructure issues and build transmission lines. The state should have a plan to deploy, such as approving pre-feasibility and feasibility designs.

Regarding sustainable development of renewable energy in general and solar power in particular, expert Nguyen The Mich emphasized: In order not to fall into a passive situation as it is today, everything needs a clear and proper plan.

“In fact, specialized units such as EVN and the Energy Institute all know such information, like how much power output balances the required capacity of the economy, where and how to build electricity transmission. EVN will play a leading role. However, it is necessary to have a responsible unit, such as the Energy Department of the Government Office or the Department of Electricity and Renewable Energy (Ministry of Industry and Trade),”said Nguyen The Mich.

By Thanh Nguyen/KieuOanh