Rivers, reservoirs near depletion, electricity shortage anticipated

Vietnam's most important hydropower reservoirs are lacking a total of 11 billion cubic meters of water compared to normal levels.

EVN (Electricity of Vietnam) general director Tran Dinh Nhan on December 10 sent a document to the Ministries of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE), Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), and Industry and Trade (MOIT) informing them that the power industry is facing its most difficult situation in history.

Rivers, reservoirs near depletion, electricity shortage anticipated



According to EVN, with the current drought situation and the shortage of water in the reservoirs in the Red River basin (7.2 billion cubic meters), and the forecast for continued drought in the last months of 2019 and early 2020, the water supply for the winter-spring crop and the remaining months in the dry season will face difficulties.

If discharging water to serve agriculture production as requested, the total volume of water from hydropower reservoirs in three spells of discharge would be 4.3 billion cubic meters.

After the discharge, the water level at Hoa Binh Reservoir would decrease from 102.5 meters to 84.46 meters, or just 4.46 meters above the dead water level.

With the remaining capacity in the reservoir of about 501 million cubic meters (equivalent to 8.3 percent of useful capacity), this is extremely worrying.

According to EVN, with the current drought situation and the shortage of water in the reservoirs in the Red River basin (7.2 billion cubic meters), and the forecast for continued drought in the last months of 2019 and early 2020, the water supply for the winter-spring crop and the remaining months in the dry season will face difficulties.

At Thac Ba Reservoir, the water level after the discharging would fall from 53.6 meters to 49.83 meters, or 3.83 meters above the dead water level. With the remaining capacity of 396 million cubic meters, or 18.3 percent of useful capacity, the plant would be able to operate for several days.

 


The same situation is predicted for Tuyen Quang hydropower plant with the water level expected to reduce from 116.5 meters to 93.56 meters.

Since it is necessary to rise the water level for Hoa Binh Reservoir and supply water for the lower course area, Son La Hydropower water level will reduce to the dead water level in mid-May. Then, Hoa Binh Reservoir (1920 MW) will no longer be able to fulfill both the tasks.

The electricity shortage in May 2020 is predicted at 100 million kwh and the situation is even more serious with the forecast shortage of 300 million kwh.

In order to avoid the scenario of the largest reservoirs in the north having to stop operation because of the lack of water, EVN has prosed that MONRE maintain the water levels at Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang and Thac Ba Reservoirs at levels lower than stipulated in the regulation on inter-reservoir operation in the Red River basin.

By the end of 2019, EVN had to use 1.45 billion kwh of electricity from oil-run power generation sources which have high production costs of VND5,000-6,000 per kwh. 

Luong Bang

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