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Trade ministry plans to import Lao wind power
Ngoc Mai 10:45, 2024/03/09
The total imported power capacity from Laos could reach 5,000-8,000 MW by 2030, increasing to 11,000 MW by 2050.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has proposed to import electricity from Laos and allow the Truong Son wind farm to be connected to the grid in Vietnam.

 A wind power project in Bac Lieu Province. Photo: The Hanoi Times

Late last year, at Electricity Vietnam's (EVN) request, the MoIT asked the Prime Minister to approve the import of 250 MW of electricity from the Truong Son wind power project in Laos into Vietnam to reduce the risk of power shortages in the northern region.

The MoIT argued that importing electricity from the  250 MW Truong Son wind power project in Laos into Vietnam aligns with the electricity import policy under the Agreement signed between the two governments.

The total amount of electricity approved for import from Laos until  2025 is around 1,977 MW, less than the 3,000 MW  in the signed agreement, EVN noted.

The import and connection of the Truong Son wind farm to 220 kV transmission lines are also justified under the Power Development Plan VIII. According to the plan, the total imported power capacity from Laos could reach 5,000-8,000 MW by 2030, increasing to 11,000 MW by 2050. In parallel, the electricity industry also plans 550 km of backup transmission lines for load growth and the development of regional sources, including imports.

The MoIT has assessed that importing electricity from Laos into Vietnam is necessary to increase supply security and reduce the risk of power shortages in the northern region in 2025 and beyond.

During the peak dry season (May-July), the Northern region could face a shortfall of about 3,632 MW of consumption capacity during the peak dry season (May-July). In the event of a water shortage when the river runs dry, the Northern Region is expected to face a power shortage in 2025, with an estimated shortfall of about 6.8 billion kWh in May, June, and July 2025. In the period 2026-203, with the progress of ongoing power projects, the addition of electricity in the northern region would not meet the increasing annual demand.

Electricity supply to the  Central and Southern regions is assured, but due to a lack of source reserves, there may be a shortage of electricity in 2025 if unfavorable factors occur.

"There may continue to be a shortage of supply during the peak months of the dry season in the northern region,"  the ministry predicts.

Vietnam-Laos Energy Investment Joint Stock Company's 250 MW Truong Son Wind Power Project is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2025. If the import proposal is approved, this project will be connected to the 220 kV transformer substation in Do Luong (Nghe An Province) to supply electricity to Vietnam.

In order to meet the schedule and commissioning date in the fourth quarter of 2025, the investor will finance the grid connection of the Truong Son wind farm (on Vietnamese territory) with its own capital, instead of EVN.

In addition, the imported electricity price will be in line with the Agreement between the two governments, with EVN negotiating with the investor to ensure that the maximum price is not exceeded, according to the MoIT.

Previously, the investor in this project had offered to sell electricity to EVN at 6.95 cents per kWh. This price is considered by EVN to be much more competitive than domestic wind power sources operating commercially before November 1, 2021, which are 8.5 cents for onshore wind and  9.8 cents per kWh for offshore wind.

In addition to the Truong Son project, EVN recently announced that it has received offers from seven wind power projects in Laos, with a total capacity of nearly 4,150 MW, wanting to sell electricity to Vietnam.  

To purchase electricity from Laos, in addition to the 500 kV Monsoon - Thanh My line built in September 2023, EVN has proposed in the Power Development Plan VIII and its subsequent action plan to add other grid connection projects, including 220 kV and 500 kV double circuit lines from the border to Lao Bao.

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