Vietnam Electricity Set to Increase Generation by 16 percent in 2011

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Jan. 12 –Vietnam Electricity has said it plans to generate 112.6 billion kilowatt-hours of power this year, up 16 percent from 2010, and it will buy electricity from China to ease its shortage.

The power shortage was estimated at 6 billion kilowatt-hours in 2010, caused in part by dry weather and reduced hydropower output, according to a year-end report from the state-owned utility. It predicts a shortfall of roughly 3 billion kilowatt-hours during the dry season this year.

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“We will negotiate with China to increase our purchase of power as much as possible for the year,” Duong Quang Thanh, the utility’s deputy chief executive officer, told Bloomberg News. Last year, the company bought about 5.6 billion kilowatt-hours from China, he said.

Thanh predicts that electricity demand in Vietnam may rise about 15 percent due to economic expansion. Vietnam’s gross domestic product grew 6.8 percent last year, up from 5.3 percent in 2009. The government’s 2011 GDP growth target is set at 7 percent.

The utility is requesting the government to provide a guarantee to help it obtain loans from foreign banks, as it will need to borrow at least 13 trillion dong (US$667 million) to meet burgeoning energy demand this year alone.

Vietnam Electricity has also asked the government to provide assistance as it plans to sell US$1 billion of bonds abroad.