Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Hoang Quoc Vuong, stated that the shortages are likely to happen from 2021 to 2023 with the peak in 2022.
An estimate by the national power utility EVN suggests that Vietnam needs to generate 265-278 billion kWh by 2020 and 572-632 billion kWh by 2030 in order to meet the growing demand.
The company stated that, despite the strong capacity growth of up to 11.3% during the 2016-2020 period and up to 8.5% during the 2021-2030 period, it is difficult to meet the demand due to a delay in progress at many power plants.
Deputy Minister Vuong warned that if Vietnam’s economy grows at a faster pace than expected and power stations in O Mon, Dung Quat and Chu Lai fall behind schedule, the shortages could be even worse.
Insufficient power supply could lead to a heavier reliance on imported fuels, especially those used for power generation, while higher demand would also place greater pressure on power infrastructure, which might not be improved quickly due to a lack of funding.
In addition to these challenges, Vietnam could face greater environmental impacts from an increased demand and a higher proportion of fossil fuels, especially coal in the power supply structure.
According to former Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan, ensuring energy security is very difficult, especially when Vietnam has decided to halt nuclear power projects while alternative resources, mainly renewable, remain limited.
To deal with the power shortages, economist Tran Dinh Thien suggested focusing on power demand management in order to make consumption more efficient, adding that electricity should be priced properly to attract more investment in power generation.
Other delegates at the forum also agreed that in addition to efforts to save power, a reasonable power pricing mechanism is needed to encourage more investment in renewable energy resources.