Developing electricity and controlling energy to sustain the national economy only focuses on supply resources without paying due attention to controlling electricity use, say energy experts.
According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Hoang Quoc Vuong, Vietnam consumes approximately 80 billion kWh of electricity every year. In 2010, the country has saved 1 percent of the total electricity output (around 1 billion kWh). If electricity use is applied strictly and properly, savings of 3-5 percent can be made.
Disregard of power saving
Around 3,000 households across the country consume high levels of electricity almost 3 million kWh/year. However, Vietnamese businesses give no or little attention to saving power. 25 percent of businesses say that it is impossible to save electricity. Only one business says it will try its best to invest more to save power and reduce electricity by half in the future. These figures were released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Asian Institute of Competition in the third quarter of this year.
The Energy Saving Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) says that State and government agencies have devised a 10 percent power saving plan, but efficiency is still low due to a lack of solutions and sanctions. In addition, a cut in the number of lights on roads in provinces and cities and management of light systems for advertising and other services have proved inefficient.
The Chief of the MoIT Energy Saving Office, Nguyen Dinh Hiep, says that industry and construction have a great potential for power saving but most small and medium-sized enterprises involved in these two sectors find it difficult to save electricity because they still use outdated technology, which consumes greatly energy and requires huge costs to replace. In addition, technological renovation is an uphill task that needs more time to be dealt with.
Power saving needs a stricter process from production, transmission to consumption.
The Deputy Director of the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), Dang Hoang An says that by late 2008, EVN reduced the loss of electrical energy to 9.24 percent (under double figures). To reach the goal of reducing electrical energy loss for the following years, a score of measures need to be taken, with a focus on technical management, business administration and an upgrade of electricity networks.
EVN aims to reduce energy losses to below 8 percent by 2012. This is a challenging plan, as the electricity sector is facing a lot of difficulties such limited investments and the improper upgrading of electricity networks.
Another issue of concern is that the economy uses a lot of energy but the efficiency is not high. Vietnam leads many regional countries in electricity consumption, so it is clear that power savings must be in line with a target for reducing electricity use, says An.
An quotes the WB’s survey that efforts to create GDP from 1kWh electricity plants in Vietnam are poor. If Vietnam does not pay attention to saving electricity and natural resources in the next few years the country will face pressure in supply and demand.
Exhausting primary energy
National energy security is closely connected with primary energy. Vietnam will have to import around 30 million tonnes of coal per year by 2020, 57 million in 2025 and 121 million tonnes in 2030. Meanwhile world’s two largest coal producers– Indonesia and Australia – export around 200-210 million tonnes each.
According to EVN, 2015 will be the first year Vietnam will start to import coal. The country will import 30 million tonnes of coal in 2020, equal to one sixth of Indonesia’s total export volume. On December 22, 2010, the Lai Chau hydroelectric power plant will be inaugurated with a capacity of 1,200MW and will be the last big capacity hydroelectric power plant to be built.
The problem is where will Vietnam will buy coal and how the price of electricity will be affected at that time?
He added that it is time to balance energy needs because the country will have to import primary energy in the next five years. Ensuring national energy security, including electricity can happen only when there are proper measures to control supply and demand.
Nguyen Tien Chinh, head of the Department of Scientific Technology and Development Strategy of the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group says that the country should consider carefully how much coal we have, when building thermal electric power plants which use coal. The country does not have clear plans for power savings and pays not enough attention to controlling imported technologies and uses too much energy for cement and steel plants.Source: VOV