Drought Makes Vietnam Double Chinese Power Imports
EVN made the decision at a meeting on Wednesday, after which its affiliates will start upgrading their 110-kilovolt transmission lines in northern provinces to 220-kilovolt lines to accommodate the extra supplies, the official Saigon Giai Phong daily reported.
EVN started buying electricity from China for the first time last year, using spare capacity from the border province of Yunnan. Vietnam's power capacity purchases from its giant neighbour already stand at more than 200 megawatts, the daily said.
EVN's hydro-power plants, including its giant 1,920-megawatt Hoa Binh plant, have been threatened with temporary shutdown because of the effect of drought on reservoir levels.
The daily said the government had also asked the Industry Ministry to push state oil monopoly Petrovietnam to increase natural gas supply to power plants as an alternative to hydro-power generation.
Hydro-power plants produce 40 percent of Vietnam's electricity output. But EVN said the plants would only come up with 21 percent of Vietnam's total during the first three months of this year, given the drought impact.
EVN has also ordered coal-fired plants to run at full capacity to meet summer power demand, while state-run newspapers and television have called on the 82 million-strong population to save power.
Electricity demand is growing at 15-17 percent a year in Vietnam, and the country plans 60 additional power plants by 2020.