Vietnam in deals to buy Laos electricity from 2021


Workers repairing an electric grid in Hanoi. - Reuters

HANOI: Vietnam's electricity firm EVN has signed five new deals to buy electricity from Laos starting from next year, the state-run company said.

The South-East Asian nation faces severe power shortages from 2021, as demand outpaces construction of new plants, with demand expected to exceed supply by 6.6 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2021, and 15 billion kWh in 2023.

Pacts signed in Hanoi over the weekend with Laos' Phongsubthavy and Chealun Sekong groups provide for EVN to buy electricity from five hydropower plants, beginning in 2021 and 2022, EVN said.

The plants have combined capacity of 363 megawatts, it added, but gave no details.

The import was approved by the Vietnamese government to mitigate power shortages predicted to hit the country from this year.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade estimates shortages of 3.7 billion kWh in 2021 and nearly 10 billion kWh the following year.

2023 will be the most stressful with the shortage expected to be around 15 billion kWh. From then on it will decrease, with the shortage expected to come down to 7 billion kWh and 3.5 billion kWh in 2024 and 2025 respectively.

The industry ministry has said not more than 5-8% of electricity can be conserved, and the only way out is to import more from Laos and China.

But buying from neighbouring countries is only a band-aid solution, and in the long run it is necessary to speed up work on large power generation projects, The government said in a statement. - Vietnam News/Reuters/Asian News Network
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