Vietnam still needs coal-fired thermal power

Coal-fueled thermal power plants are still an important source of energy for the next decade, when the country will be in dire need of energy for more production, heard attendees at a seminar in HCMC last week.

Vietnam still needs coal-fired thermal power
Experts at the seminar held on May 28 seek solutions to develop energy resources. Coal-fired thermal power is still needed for the next decade

At the seminar to seek energy development solutions to ensure national energy security, held by Tien Phong newspaper, Nguyen Quoc Minh, deputy head of the development strategy board at Vietnam Electricity Group, said that only 16,500 megawatts of electricity is expected to be generated in 2016-2020, equivalent to 76.2% of the planned volume. As a result, the country may face a severe power shortage.

According to Le Van Luc, deputy head of the Renewable Energy Department, under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that most of the medium and large hydropower sources had been depleted.

In addition, the total capacity of gas-fired power plants is over 7,000 megawatts. Gas is mainly sourced from Nam Con Son and Cuu Long fields, but the gas reserves at these two fields have declined.

Projects to exploit gas from the Block B and Blue Whale gas fields have lagged behind schedule due to complicated administrative procedures and the lack of capital, Luc added.

Meanwhile, renewable energy plants’ operations are unstable as they are dependent on weather conditions.

Since 2012, coal-fired thermal power plants have generated only 8,000 megawatts of electricity, or 58% of the planned volume, due to investors’ poor performance and local residents’ opposition to coal-fired thermal power projects.

To ensure an adequate power supply, the country has to import some 1,000 megawatts of electricity from China and Laos. The volume is forecast to increase to 3,000 megawatts by 2025 and 5,000 megawatts by 2030, Luc said.

Together with renewable and gas-fired power, coal-fired thermal power is still an important source of energy for meeting local demand.

 

According to Tran Trong Quyet, vice chairman of the Southern Electrical Engineering Association, hydro and coal-fired thermal power prices are considered competitive compared with those of other kinds of power. Vietnam has strong potential to develop coal-fueled thermal power plants, while hydropower potential is nearly exhausted.

In the world, coal-fired thermal power accounts for nearly half of the electricity volume. The rate is also high in some European countries, which have abundant hydro and nuclear power supplies, Quyet said.

Over the next 10 to 15 years, coal-fueled thermal power will still be needed despite the development of other kinds of power, Quyet said, adding that coal-fired thermal power plants must apply advanced technology to protect the environment and utilize coal ash.

Tran Dinh Thien, former director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said that the sector should adjust the electricity development strategy to take into account both the power demand and supply and create favorable conditions for the private sector to ensure national energy security in the coming period. SGT

Le Anh

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