Vietnam Commits US$48.8 Bln Towards Increasing Electricity Capacity

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Aug. 5 – Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade recently announced that the country will be spending US$48.8 billion to help boost electricity generation capacity to meet the growing domestic demand.

The majority of the funds will be put towards the construction of new plants and power-transmission systems, the ministry said in a statement. Vietnam will also seek FDI and official development aid, as well as commercial loans for the projects.

The country has faced an electricity shortage of about 3 percent a year from 2006 to 2010, with a drop in hydropower output during the dry season widening shortfalls to as much as 10 percent in some provinces, according to Trinh Ngoc Khanh, head of Electricity of Vietnam’s planning department.

The new funding is anticipated to help boost the country’s total installed power-generation capacity to 75 gigawatts by 2020 – up from the 21 gigawatts reported at the end of 2010.

Coal-fired power plants are expected to account for 48 percent of capacity. As such, Vietnam is expected to fast-track negotiations with coal-exporting nations including Australia and Russia for deals on long-term and stable supplies, according to the ministry. The country’s first ever coal imports of 9,570 metric tons came in from Indonesia this past June.

According to forecasts, hydropower will account for 23.1 percent of total installed power-generation capacity in 2020 while gas-fired plants will be responsible for 16.5 percent, wind and solar 5.6 percent, and nuclear power 1.3 percent. Vietnam will also import power, primarily from China, Laos and Cambodia.