BackStories » Vietnam » Faced With Imminent Shortage, Vietnam Might Soon Start Buying Electricity From Laos, China

Vietnam might have to resort to buying electricity from neighboring countries in the next few years if the national consumption of energy continues growing at this rate.

At the Vietnam Energy Forum in Hanoi last Thursday, energy production companies and government agencies convened to discuss the state of Vietnam’s current and future power consumption and production.

“There is a real risk of power shortages in 2021-2023, and the risk will get higher if consumption surpasses forecasts in the coming years,” Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade shared at the conference, reports VnExpress.

For now, Vietnam Electricity (EVN)’s production is capable of satisfying Vietnam’s hunger for energy, but the country’s on the brink of a power bottleneck, according to EVN Deputy Director Ngo Son Hai. This could occur in as early as two years if generators don’t work optimally or if there’s a lack of coal and liquefied natural gas to burn.

Minister Vuong also suggested that the nation might have to start considering other options to make ends meet while waiting for a slew of new power plant projects, mostly in southern Vietnam, to finish. One option is to start importing electricity from Laos and China.

An alternative, Vuong said, is creating favorable conditions for the growth of green energy projects like solar and wind power. Back in June, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also echoed this sentiment, telling Reuters in an interview that Vietnam would aim to triple the amount of energy produced from renewable sources and boost household solar power use 26% by 2030.

Over the past months, southern Vietnam has also witnessed the beginning of a few major solar plants. Thai conglomerate B.Grimm started constructing a US$420 million solar power station in Tay Ninh Province with an estimated finish date of June next year. When finished, it will be the biggest facility of its kind in Southeast Asia.

The coastal province of Binh Thuan, on the other hand, will also start building a US$38 million solar power plant this year in the hope of diversifying Vietnam’s power production away from fossil fuel.

[Photo via ICON]

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