BackStories » Vietnam » As Power Projects Are Delayed, More Power Blackouts Loom Over Southern Vietnam

If this stuffy heatwave continues to be a common occurrence in the future in Vietnam, it’s likely that southern provinces might experience more frequent power blackouts in the future.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade recently put forth a warning about the increased risk of power shortages in the next three years, reports Tuoi Tre. According to the ministry, local energy demand continues to climb while a host of thermal energy projects in the southern and central regions have been delayed.

It elaborated that the total energy production in the 2016-2020 period only amounts to 15,500 megawatts (MW), which is 70% of the needed target.

Across the southern and central regions, state-run oil giant PetroVietnam is building 27 power projects, all under construction. Four out of 15 similar projects by the Vietnam Electricity Corporation (EVN) are also lagging behind.

During the first week of July, many localities in Vietnam have reported especially high temperature with northern Vietnam bearing the brunt of the heatwave. Temperatures reached 40oC or 104oF, in some areas, while Hanoi has seen highs of 39oC for a few consecutive days.

This unbearable heat has driven people indoor into the comfort of air-conditioning, resulting in record-breaking power consumption. According to the Saigon Times, power consumption in northern Vietnam on July 2 rose to a record of 345 million kilowatts, with Hanoi accounting for 79.3 million kilowatts. It didn’t help that the hot weather dovetailed with the heights of the World Cup, which warrants extended use of electric devices and appliances.

According to a report released earlier this year by Eco-Business, a media firm covering sustainability in Asia, Vietnam is not alone in its thirst for electricity. From 2000 to 2016, Southeast Asia’s energy demand rose by 70%, due to rapid urbanization in countries like Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia.

Much of the region’s power use could be attributed to a boost in air-conditioning. The report estimates that, by 2040, cooling technologies – such as refrigeration and air-conditioning – could constitute as much as 40% of Southeast Asia’s electricity use.

[Photo via VietnamNet]

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