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VietNamNews

Rising demand for electricity to leave power plants short of coal

Update: November, 20/2014 - 08:37
A coal mine in the northern province of Quang Ninh. Facing growing demand for electricity, Viet Nam will be forced to start importing coal by 2020, according to an official source. VNA/VNS – Photo Trong Dat

HA NOI (VNS) — Facing growing demand for electricity, Viet Nam will be forced to start importing coal by 2020, an official said.

Coal demand will rise to 67.3 million tonnes by 2020 and up to 171 million tonnes by 2030, according to Government estimates. However, Viet Nam is expected to produce only 65 million tonnes of charcoal by 2020 and 75 million tonnes by 2030.

"The serious imbalance between supply and demand leaves the electricity sector with no other way than importing coal," Viet Nam Energy Consultation Centre Director To Quoc Tru told Hai quan (Customs) newspaper.

Australia and Indonesia, the biggest coal providers to Asian economies, are considered the most likely partners. However, most of the countries' existing charcoal mines have been claimed by other Asian nations like Japan, South Korea, China and India.

"Investing in new foreign coal mines can cost a lot," Tru said, estimating that investing in a coal mine in Australia with annual output of 30 million tonnes would cost about US$8 billion.

He added that Viet Nam also lacked clear regulations on capital and taxation, as well as infrastructure.

"Viet Nam does not have any port capable of loading huge ships carrying hundreds of thousands of tonnes of cargo," Tru said.

Tra Vinh, Vung Tau and Tien Giang have been selected as possible locations for such big ports but only Duyen Hai port in Tra Vinh is currently under construction.

The Viet Nam National Coal – Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) has suggested boosting co-operation with local enterprises like Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) and Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) to confront obstacles in importing coal such as lack of capital, technology and human resources.

Vinacomin also plans to co-ordinate with Laos and Cambodia to explore the coal reserves in the two countries in preparation for future investment. — VNS

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