Vietnam will have to import 12 million tons of coal in 2020 to avoid electricity shortage due to increasing demand in electricity and rapidly growing economy. This situation was predicted by Denmark’s energy industry reflected from data of energy report in November 2019. Norway also suggested alternative clean energy such as liquid natural gas and the will to cooperate and assist power shortage situations.
Last November, a report by Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, prepared in collaboration with Denmark’s Energy Agency also warned Vietnam against building new coal fire power plants.
It said the country needs early action to reduce future coal demand, which could include taxation on the use of coal or limits on new coal-based power generation.
According to Vnexpress report, Vietnam currently relies mostly on hydropower and thermal power. But its hydropower potential can only meet 30 percent of demand and is almost fully exploited. The country’s oil and gas reserves are running low.
In December 2018, the state owned electricity company EVN warned that the lack of coal might lead to a shutdown of thermal power plants and it might have to resort to load-shedding next year.
Several power plants in the north have shut down their turbines since mid-November or reduced their operations to a minimum.
On 10th January 2020, senior officials of the state-owned coal mining group Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) said at a meeting that as power consumption in Vietnam increases, it is expected that the demand for coal to serve thermal power plants could rise to 50 million tons in 2020 and double that in 2030.
The government has directed Vinacomin to ensure sufficient coal supply for the power plants, via domestic production and imports.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said at the meeting.”Vinacomin will have to import 12 million tons of coal this year and the figure will rise to 30.5 million five years later and 50 million in 2030.”
The industry ministry estimates shortages of 3.7 billion kWh in 2021 and nearly 10 billion kWh the following year.
The ministry said not more than 5-8 percent of electricity can be conserved, and the only way out is to import more from Laos and China. It also added that buying from neighbouring countries was just a temporary solution, and in the long run it was necessary to speed up work on large power generation projects.