16:19 | 16/02/2016 Industry
The Government has told relevant agencies to consider stopping new coal-fired power plant projects as domestic coal reserves are falling and the country will have to import coal, possibly from 2020, to keep its thermal power plants running.
A vehicle transports coal from a mine to a processing facility in the northern province of Quang Ninh
The Government last week held a meeting to discuss adjusting the national power development plan, also known as power master zoning plan VII, and the master zoning plan for development of the coal industry, or coal master zoning plan 60 until 2020 with an outlook to 2030.
At the meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told the Ministry of Industry and Trade to submit amendments to both plans to the Government this quarter. Such amendments aim to solve environmental issues and reconsider development plans for all coal-fired power plants to fulfill Vietnam’s commitments to greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
The Prime Minister was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying that it is urgent to review and revise the master zoning plans for the development of coal and energy sectors in the 2016-2020 period with visions towards 2030.
“Energy is of paramount importance to Vietnam’s growth and it is a decisive factor for the country’s high and sustainable growth. It is difficult for Vietnam to realize growth targets if energy runs short,” Dung said.
The Prime Minister said the master zoning plans for coal and energy industries should ensure sufficient supplies for the country’s growth in the years to come and effectively deal with environmental issues.
As instructed by the Prime Minister, new gas-fired power plants will be prioritized over those running on coal. The country will call for investment in renewable energy projects.
Under the power master zoning plan VII, coal-fired power accounted for 35.1% of the country’s total power capacity in 2015, followed by hydropower with 33.6%. The percentage will rise to 44.7% (nearly 30,000 MW) in 2020 and 56.1% in 2030.
According to Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin), coal-fueled power stations consumed a total of 23-24 million tons last year. As coal exports were small, there was sufficient coal for thermal plants in 2015.
However, Vietnam is forecast to import millions of tons of coal this year for domestic consumption and imports would soar to 20-30 million tons per year in 2020.
Vietnam, which has long been a coal exporter, will have to import this mineral of fossilized carbon to meet power plants’ needs.
Vietnam began a pilot scheme to import dozens thousands of tons of coal from Indonesia in 2011.
EVN has three thermal power plants in need of imported coal in the coming time. These plants are extended Duyen Hai 3 plant with a capacity of 600 MW, Vinh Tan 4 with 1,200 MW and Duyen Hai 3 with 1,200 MW. Meanwhile, PVN has five facilities with a combined capacity of 6,000 MW./.