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Electricity shortage remains serious as projects going slowly   2009-02-18 - VietNamNet

A series of power plant projects will be six months to one year late in becoming operational. It is estimated that from now until 2011, every year, Vietnam will be short of 22-31% of the electricity capacity it needs to add annually.


The Ministry of Industry and Trade has released the report on the implementation of the power projects in the national program on power development for 2006-2015 (program 6) and expressed concern about the tardiness in the project implementation.


The national grid expects to put 15 new power generation sources into operation this year, which can provide an additional volume of 3,393 kwh. However, the ministry has found out that eight of the projects have been progressing slowly, which means that the national grid will lack approximately 966MW, or 28% of the total capacity Vietnam needs to add in the year.


The 220 MW Mao Khe 1 Thermopower Plant, invested by Vinacomin, is believed to be able to become operational only in 2011, or two days later than previously scheduled. The other projects, of the eight, are 150 MW Ban Ve 2 hydropower plant, 86 MW  Buon Tua Sah, Dong Nai 3, 1&2 (180 MW), invested by the Electricity of Vietnam, 300MW Hai Phong Power Plant 2.1, and 30 MW.


The tardiness has also been seen in power plant projects that were scheduled to become operational in 2010 and 2011.


Lilama-invested 600MW Vung Ang 1.1 power plant and Vinacomin’s 220 MW Mao Khe 2 plant will be operational in 2012 instead of 2010.


Moreover, PetroVietnam’s 750 MW Nhon Trach 2 gas turbine project will be put into operation in 2011 instead of 2010 as previously thought. The three projects are all big projects, and therefore, the tardiness will cause serious electricity shortage. It is expected that in 2010, the country will lack 1,570 MW, or 31% of the electricity volume it needs to add in the year.


In 2011, under program 6, Vietnam will need to add 5,401 MW from 14 power generating projects. However, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has found out that the 600MW Mong Duong 2.1 power plant and 600MW Vung Ang 1 thermopower plant will be operational one year later than previously planned. The two projects alone will lead to the shortage of 22% of the total electricity volume Vietnam needs to add in 2011.


Similarly, in 2012, Vietnam needs 6,554 MW of additional electricity volume. However, this plan is anticipated to fail, as the power projects will not be able to be completed on schedule. These include 600 MW Tra Vinh thermopower, 600 MW Nghi Son 2.1.


The tardiness in power project implementation that cause electricity shortage proves to be a chronic problem of Vietnam’s power industry. However, the problem is that no effective solution has been found to treat it.


Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Huu Hao said that with the current system of the power plants, Vietnam always has to ‘live from hand to mouth’: it consumes all it can produce. Meanwhile, in order to ensure energy security, Vietnam needs to have 4,000-5,000 MW in reserve.


At a press conference held in Hanoi on February 17, when the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced about the electricity price increase by an average of 8.92%, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said that the electricity price increase will not help speed up the pace of power projects. Hai said that the Government has asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to submit the bill on amending eight laws relating to the capital construction in May 2009, hoping that the new regulations will help settle the current problems for power investors.

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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 17/2   2009-02-17