|Workers check the power transmission system in southern Dong Nai Province. The southern region is likely to face power shortages this dry season. – VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Ha
HCM CITY (VNS) — The South region is facing the threat of a power shortage during the dry season as construction of power plants is behind schedule.
The south's power demand between March and June is expected to increase by 15 per cent against recent figures, according to Viet Nam Electricity (EVN).
The South has to rely on supply from the central and north regions.
The power transmission lines in provinces like Binh Duong, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Dong Nai and Long An are overloaded, according to a report in the Nguoi Lao Dong (the Labourer) newspaper.
Meanwhile, construction has proceeded slowly on many 220 kV power lines and transmission stations such as Nhon Trach, Phu My 2, Vung Tau, My Xuan, Tay Ninh, Ham Tan and Duc Hoa.
In recent years, the demand for electricity for the aquaculture and fruit cultivation sectors has increased significantly.
The consumption of power in the Delta's coastal provinces of Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau in 2012, for example, rose by 50 per cent against 2011. In 2013, it increased by 49.6 per cent against 2012.
The investment in new power projects cannot keep up with demand, EVN says.
To ensure supply, EVN has told the Southern Power Corporation to work with provinces to find capital to invest in power line projects that serve business production.
Companies and local residents have also been asked to use power efficiently.
Last month, EVN put into operation Turbine 1 of the Vinh Tan 2 Thermopower Plant and Turbine 2 of the Hai Phong 2 Thermopower Plant.
It also put into use 48 projects with 500kV, 220kV and 110kV transmission lines that have a total length of 705 km.
EVN has also asked the National Power Transmission Corporation to ensure the operation of a high-voltage transmission line system and complete construction on key power projects by the end of this month.
The key projects are 500kV power transmission lines such as Quang Ninh – Mong Duong, Quang Ninh – Hiep Hoa, Phu Lam – O Mon and Pleiku – My Phuoc – Cau Bong and the Cau Bong 500kV transformation station.
Tran Viet Ngai, chairman of the Viet Nam Energy Association, told Nguoi Lao Dong that EVN had prepared all measures to supply power for the south in the dry season.
EVN was focusing on completing the Pleiku – My Phuoc – Cau Bong 500kV power transmission line project to transport power from Pleiku City to the South region, he said.
This line had an important role to ensure power supply of 2,000 MW for the South, as many power plant projects in the region were behind schedule, he said.
EVN also said that it had been operating gas-fuelled turbines at full capacity.
Several hydropower plants, including Dong Nai and Thac Mo, would soon have enough flood water for operation, Ngai said.
About one million households across the country do not have access to the national power grid, accounting for four per cent of the country's homes.
The Power Regulatory Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade reported that the national power grid reached all districts and 98 per cent of local communes across the country.
Vice head of the power regulatory authority, Dinh The Phuc, said that huge investment was needed to expand the power coverage to all households without electricity, mostly on islands and remote mountainous areas.
Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang told members of National Assembly Standing Committee earlier this month that the Government had approved VND30 trillion (US$1.4 billion) to ensure the national power grid reached all households in remote areas across the country by 2020.
NA Deputy Thach Du from Tra Vinh Province said that local farmers were using diesel powered generators for almost 85 per cent of their power needs.
This resulted in higher production costs and lower competitiveness, he said.
NA Deputy Le Dac Lam from Binh Thuan Province said that power supplies to the province only met half the demand for green dragon fruit farming.
Last Saturday, Electricity of Viet Nam started work on a 81km power line to provide electricity to five islands in Quang Ninh Province's Van Don District.
The work is scheduled to finish by the end of this year, with 10,000 households on the islands of Minh Chau, Quan Lan, Ban Sen, Ngoc Vung and Thang Loi having access to the national power grid. Earlier this year, a similar project was completed to connect Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang Province to the national grid. — VNS