Record energy use calls for more actions for power efficiency

May 20, 2024 - 08:56
On April 27, the national power grid capacity reached 47,670MW, a record number in the entire 70 years of the national electric power industry.
Local residents and business owners in Bình Thạnh Province, HCM City receive information on power saving from staff of Sài Gòn Gia Định Electric JSC. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ

HÀ NỘI — As nationwide energy consumption reached new records in recent months, experts are discussing whether more stringent actions, in addition to awareness campaigns, should be applied to energy saving.

According to deputy general director of Vietnam Electricity (EVN) Võ Quang Lâm, nationwide commercial energy use in April 2024 reached 26.8 billion kWh, an increase of 14.1 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year.

This figure reached 96.2 billion kWh in the first four months of 2024, equivalent to a 12.4 per cent increase year-on-year, the most significant consumption surge in recent years.

According to the EVN representative Việt Nam’s energy efficiency is not on par with several other countries, as Việt Nam uses two to three times more electricity to generate US$1,000.

Energy use for industries, trade, services and living has increased between 10.91 and 18.95 per cent, which in total is 1.5 times higher compared to the country’s growth rate.

On April 27, the national power grid capacity reached 47,670MW, a record number in the entire 70 years of the national electric power industry.

National electricity output was also measured at 994 million kWh the day before, an increase of 7.6 per cent compared to the peak in 2023.

Lâm said: “These records occur during the holiday, which often falls on the beginning of the hot season in the northern and central regions.

“We expect that in the next few months of 2024, the power grid will witness new records in terms of capacity and output.”

Trịnh Quốc Vũ, deputy director general of the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development Department (under the Ministry of Industry and Trade – MOIT) believes there are many challenges ahead in 2024 due to the complicated El Nino phenomenon and surges in demand for energy due to economic and production recovery, especially the export-processing industry.

In late 2023, the MOIT issued an official guideline to the EVN, Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (Petrovietnam), Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) and localities to take energy-saving measures according to the Prime Minister’s Directive No 20/CT-TTg.

According to economist Dr Trần Đình Thiên, this document did not simply initiate a campaign, it is a nationwide action programme with specific goals.

The directive details that in the 2023-2025 period and the following years, the country must strive to save at least 2 per cent of total energy consumption annually, and reduce the power loss across the entire grid to below 6 per cent by 2025.

Thiên added that the addition of the power transmission line from the central province of Quảng Bình to the northern Hưng Yên Province was also one of the solutions to increase efficiency in energy use and distribution.

Recently, people had increasingly recognised the importance of electricity thanks to the media and the government, said Thiên, adding that more efforts should be made in the future.

Citing the strict penalties for people driving under the influence of alcohol, director of the Centre for Energy and Green Growth Research (CEGR) Hà Đăng Sơn raised the question of whether the same stringent measures should be applied to energy-saving issues.

Electricity pricing is benefiting from government subsidies and social welfare policies, and reforms are underway to gradually match this tariff with the market prices, according to Sơn.

Where local authorities truly care about saving energy and take action on the matter, the positive impacts are immense.

However, several other localities wish to attract more investment and in these cases, investors can employ less energy-efficient equipment or use older technology, resulting in more wasted energy.

It is hoped that the government, the MOIT and relevant agencies can address these issues by further promoting the Vietnam Energy Efficiency Network, which was established nearly 10 years ago. — VNS