11 hydropower plants cease production

Water flows have dropped to the point that 11 hydropower plants have to stop generating to ensure safety, causing a shortage of about 5,000MW in the north of Vietnam.

The Industrial Safety Techniques and Environment Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said on June 8 that nine hydropower reservoirs are lower than the dead water level, including Lai Chau, Son La, Thac Ba, Tuyen Quang, Ban Ve, Hua Na, Trung Son, Thac Mo, and Tri An.

This is shutting down the operation of 11 facilities in Son La, Lai Chau, Huoi Quang, Thac Ba, Tuyen Quang, Ban Ve, Hua Na, Trung Son, Tri An, Dai Ninh, and Pleikrong, according to the department.

Nguyen Manh Cuong, deputy general director of Thac Ba Hydropower JSC, said that on the morning of June 8, the water level in Yen Bai province's hydropower reservoir stood at 45.65m, 0.5m lower than the level at which electricity cannot be generated.

Cuong said, "For the first time over the last 52 years, this plant has had to stop operating two units since June 1. Unit 3 is still operating at its minimum level (15MW) to supply water downstream. If the water level falls below 45m, this unit may also have to be stopped because of the great risk to its operation."

11 hydropower plants cease production
11 hydropower plants stop generating.

The amount of water flowing into the lake in May decreased by 40 per cent compared to the long-term average, equivalent to only 22 per cent of 2022's figure.

"Unit 3 is operating at a minimum capacity. When running below the dead water level, vibrations and a risk of cracking turbine wings may occur. Technical staff must work all day. The other two units are being maintained so they can generate immediately when there is enough water," added Cuong.

The output of this plant in May was only one-tenth of last year, at about two million kWh.

Tran Viet Hoa, director general of the MoIT's Electricity Regulatory Authority, said that the available capacity of all sources in the North (including imported electricity) is 17,500-17,900MW, about 59.2 per cent of the total installed capacity.

Meanwhile, the demand sits at about 20,000-24,000MW in hot weather. It is estimated that there is a lack of 30.9-50.8 million kWh every day.

"The North is at risk of a lack of capacity during most hours of the day," said the authority's director. Therefore, the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has to cut off electricity in the North.

According to the conclusion of Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha that was issued today, the government has asked the MoIT to guide EVN in developing scenarios for electricity supply management for the North. The MoIT should check and inspect coal-fired power plants that are having problems, implement fixes, and put them into operation as soon as possible.

For thermal power plants that are experiencing long breakdowns (over two years) and are unable to operate in June, the MoIT should ask inspection authorities to clearly determine the causes and assign responsibility.

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Nguyen Huong
(Source: VIR)