Expert: 14 thermal power plants in Mekong Delta too much
VietNamNet Bridge - Building 14 thermal power plants in the Mekong Delta is a “very unsustainable development scenario”, Nguyen Minh Due, chair of the Energy Science Council of the Vietnam Energy Association, said.


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Of the thermal power plants to be built in Mekong Delta, the smallest has designed capacity of 600 MW and the biggest 2,000 MW, or nearly equal to the capacity of the Song Da thermal power Plant in the north (2,400 MW).

“So, the 14 thermal power plants all will have total capacity of 20,000 MW. I personally think that this is very unsustainable,” Due said.

He said the domestic coal supply is declining and coal-fired plants will have to run with imported coal. 

Meanwhile, the contracts on coal imports have not been signed, while Vietnam has problems in infrastructure conditions to receive coal.

In the past, coal was priced at $40 per ton. But it is now sold at $60 per ton and the price is expected to continue to escalate. Once the coal price increases, the electricity generation costs will be increasing proportionally, and thermal power won’t be as cheap as people think. 

Meanwhile, when developing coal-fired plants, Vietnam will have to face a big challenge –  pollution caused by thermal power plants.

In the past, coal was priced at $40 per ton. But it is now sold at $60 per ton and the price is expected to continue to escalate. Once the coal price increases, the electricity generation costs will be increasing proportionally, and thermal power won’t be as cheap as people think. 

Due said the Mekong Delta should ask the government to adjust the power development strategy. 

On this issue, Tran Huu Hiep, member of the Southwest Steering Committee, said it was the Prime Minister who approved the overall power development strategy and only the Prime Minister could answer the question about adjustment.

However, the strategy has been adjusted before. As Bac Lieu province is expected to become a clean shrimp farming center, the Cai Cung thermal power plant project has been removed from the list of projects to be developed. 

Hiep went on to say that if Mekong Delta can develop renewable power units, there will be no more convincing reason to continue building thermal power plants.

Nguyen Anh Tuan from MOIT’s Energy Institute also thinks that Vietnam has great advantages to develop renewable energy.

He said in theory Vietnam could develop up to 9.1 million MW of renewable power, which is much higher than the total electricity capacity of 41,000 MW of the whole system in Vietnam by 2016. 

This includes 15,000 MW of biomass electricity 177,200 MW of biogas electricity, 9,000 MW from waste, 2.1 million MW from wind and 6.8 million MW from solar power.

However, by the end of 2016, only 159 MW of wind power had been connected with the national grid and 6 MW of solar power had been developed, Tuan said.


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Mai Thanh

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