Vietnam to boost power supplies to avert shortage

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Electricity of Vietnam will put more plants into operation and increase supplies to avert a potential shortage in 2011, the state-run monopoly said.

EVN, as the utility is known, will boost supplies by 14 percent to 110.83 billion kilowatt-hours this year compared with 2010, Trinh Ngoc Khanh, head of the company's planning department, said at a conference in Hanoi on Wednesday. Consumption may rise 15 percent to 98 billion kilowatt-hours in 2011, he said.

Vietnam faced shortages 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 Khanh. In 2011, the government aims to ensure adequate supply, especially for residential users and factories that ship products overseas, he said.

The country's electricity deficit is about 10 percent of capacity, the European Chamber of Commerce's Energy and Infrastructure Committee said earlier this month.

Vietnam currently has 38 power projects under construction, of which 26 plants belong to EVN, Khanh said. The utility will finish building 11 power plants this year, he said, without providing specific dates.

"Chronic" power shortages are slowing growth in Vietnam's agriculture, industry and services industries, according to the World Bank. To meet demand, the country must more than double installed generation capacity to 39 gigawatts by 2020 from about 16 gigawatts at the end of 2008, the World Bank says.

The Southeast Asian nation's generation capacity may rise to 48,497 megawatts by 2015 from 21,586 megawatts in 2010, Khanh said at the conference.

In the next five years, average electricity consumption may rise 15 percent while supply may increase 14.5 percent, according to Khanh.

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