VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) -Vietnam Electricity (EVN) is seeking approval from the Vietnamese government to accelerate the import of electricity from Laos since shortages are forecast in the northern region, according to VnExpress International.
EVN, the largest power company in Vietnam, plans to import 225 MW from two hydropower projects in northern Laos, including Nam Mo hydropower plant. “It [EVN] is also seeking permission to link up the Savan 1 and 2 wind power plants in Laos with the Vietnamese grid. Until 2025, no new major power plant is set to enter the grid in northern Vietnam, which is expected to face shortages,” the Vietnamese media reported, adding that the power shortage by 2025 is estimated to be 3,630 MW. At the moment, Laos has supplied more than 500 MW to Vietnam, with a number of projects being planned to export to the neighbouring country. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Laos plans to export 3,000 MW of electricity to Vietnam by 2025 and 5,000MW by 2030. As of May this year, 94 power plants with a total installed capacity of more than 11,660 MW have been built and are operational in Laos. Of the total, 81 are hydropower projects, representing 83 percent of all power plants in the country. Laos has high potential to develop hydropower and other sources of energy for export to neighbouring countries. Recently, a number of concession agreements have been signed for the development of hydropower projects.
In July this year, Vietnam’s AMI Renewables Quang Binh Investment Joint Stock Company signed an agreement with the Lao government in Vientiane to develop a wind power plant in Xepon district of Savannakhet province. With a total capacity of 1,220 MW, the AMI Savannakhet Wind Power Plant project has a total investment of more than US$2 billion, the largest amount that Vietnam has invested in the energy sector of Laos. In addition, wind farm investments of 1.6 gigawatts are planned, including a 600 MW monsoon wind project in Xekong and Attapeu provinces that will export energy to Vietnam. These investments are expected to create one of the world’s largest wind farms and lead to more than 90 million tonnes of carbon saving over their life. VnExpress International, while citing the EVN, reported that purchasing from Laos is economical since its hydropower costs only 6.95 cents per kilowatt-hour, lower than local prices in Vietnam. In August, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh approved a proposal to import 2,698 MW from Laos, with EVN signing purchase contracts for around 83 percent of this figure. According to Vietnamese media, the country’s northern region suffered a crippling power shortage in summer this year, with many areas resorting to load shedding. Imports from Laos and China met 10 percent of the demand during this period.