NA deputies discuss issues surrounding surplus energy and electricity imports

May 26, 2023 - 08:01
Furthermore, the excess generation of wind and solar power, coupled with the country's continued reliance on imported electricity, were also key points of discussion.
A wind farm of Trung Nam Group in Ninh Thuận Province in the central region of Việt Nam. — VNS File Photo

HÀ NỘI — In a session held yesterday, National Assembly deputies delved into the ongoing concerns surrounding the substantial losses reported by Vietnam Electricity (EVN), juxtaposed with the remarkable profits reaped by its member companies.

Furthermore, the excess generation of wind and solar power, coupled with the country's continued reliance on imported electricity, were also key points of discussion.

EVN, through its subsidiary, the Northern Electricity Corporation, recently inked an agreement with Guangxi Power Grid Company from China. This pact allows EVN to procure electricity from the Chinese company until July. The collaboration entails the sale of electricity via a 110kV transmission line. Nonetheless, specifics regarding the volume of purchases and the cost of the deal remain undisclosed.

Both parties have undertaken the necessary preparations, including the establishment of infrastructure and the implementation of operational techniques, to ensure an uninterrupted power supply for the Móng Cái station and Quảng Hà in Hải Hà District.

The issue surrounding EVN's ongoing losses in contrast to its member companies' profitability has sparked concerns among National Assembly deputies. These concerns, along with the surplus production of wind and solar power, as well as the nation's reliance on imported electricity, have prompted thorough discussions within the assembly.

As estimated by EVN, the northern region is at risk of lacking 1,600-4,900 MWs of electricity in May and June as the hot, dry weather will hit hydropower production.

EVN also said that it would boost the import of electricity from Laos to Nậm Kông and Nậm San hydropower plant cluster, which was completed and connected to the national grid on Monday.

Commenting on wasted solar power while the country is currently short of electricity, delegate Tạ Thị Yên from Điện Biên delegation said that many renewable energy projects had been agreed, planned and licensed by the State but were not used.

Many renewable energy projects had been built and exploited, but could not connect to generate electricity while the economy was short of electricity and had to buy electricity. This was a waste of time, said Yên.

Vietnam Electricity has adjusted electricity prices 8-9 times since 2010, but it continues to report losses and proposes an increase in prices.

Sharing the same view, delegate Lê Thanh Vân from Cà Mau delegation also said that it was highly wasteful not taking full advantage of domestically produced electricity but importing foreign electricity.

“Domestic electricity production such as wind power and solar power has not yet been exploited and utilised,” she said.

“Việt Nam is a powerhouse of wind and solar power because of its natural conditions. Why are there these paradoxes?” she said.

Explaining the problem of wasting solar power, Finance Minister Hồ Đức Phớc said he had discussed it with the Minister of Industry and Trade.

"The Minister of Industry and Trade told me that it was not about price, it was about capacity, and that we have enough load."

"I asked him if we had enough load, why are we still doing solar power? And if we have developed solar power, why are we not reducing electricity purchased from abroad?"

"The Minister of Industry and Trade told me that agreements have been signed with foreign countries, now it was not possible to negotiate to cut these deals."

According to the Finance Minister, to remove these bottlenecks, it was necessary to correct a number of regulations, especially the Law on Planning and the Law on Public Investment.

"Even though we enacted the Law on Planning a few years ago, we are still struggling to implement it, and so we have the electricity issue," said the Minister of Finance. — VNS