Power imports from Laos hit snags

13:00 | 12/10/2020 Industry

(VEN) - Ambitious projects to supply power from Laos to two north-central Vietnamese provinces are hitting snags over power line routes, land use and site clearance problems and environmental impact assessments.

power imports from laos hit snags
Power projects are being accelerated

Feasibility studies

State-run power corporation Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has signed five deals to buy electricity from Laos starting in 2021 to respond to expected shortages as demand outpaces supply.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade forecasts a shortage of 3.7 billion kWh in 2021, which will peak at around 15 billion kWh in 2023. With domestic power projects stalled, the National Steering Committee for Power Development has approved electricity import from Laos to the bordering provinces of Nghe An and Thanh Hoa. EVN has been working with the Electricity du Laos (EDL) - the state corporation of Laos that owns and operates the country's electricity generation, transmission and distribution facilities - and its partners to ensure uniformity and meet Vietnam's electricity import requirements.

The 220kV transmission line from Nam Sum in Laos to Nong Cong in Thanh Hoa Province is undergoing a feasibility study with construction scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2021 and launched in the first quarter of 2022. Construction of the line from Nam Mo in Laos to Tuong Duong in Nghe An Province is expected to start in December 2021 and completed in December 2022. Construction of the Tuong Duong 220kV transformer station and the connecting transmission line was expected to start in September 2020 and be completed in December 2021. The Nam Cam 220kV transformer station and the connecting transmission line, scheduled to start construction in 2021 and be completed in 2022, is currently preparing a feasibility study report.

According to EVN, these projects are expected to add badly needed capacity to the national grid but most of them face difficulties related to route agreements, land use planning, site clearance and environmental impact assessments.

Accelerating progress

To overcome difficulties, EVN has proposed a number of solutions on forest land conversion requiring the involvement of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. These include adding the project to its local land use plan, applying for change of policy on forestland use, compensation and site clearance, and prompt review of environmental impact reports to ensure projects are implemented on schedule.

Nguyen Thai Son, head of the National Steering Committee for Power Development office, has urged the people’s committees, departments and related agencies of provinces, to focus on supporting the 220kV projects by integrating them into local land use plans, ironing out route problems and helping resolve land designation changes.

Son also urged EVN, the Power Project Management Board, and the provincial departments of industry and trade to urgently report problems and propose specific recommendations to overcome the slow project progress.

The prime minister has approved not only the electricity import policy from two hydropower plant clusters in

Laos with a total capacity of 770MW, but also additional planning of grid-connected works to Vietnam.

Do Nga