At the forum held in Hanoi on August 21. (Photo: kinhtedothi.vn)
According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong, in the scenario of an annual GDP growth rate of 7 percent, the electricity demand could reach 235 billion kWh in 2020, 352 billion kWh in 2025 and 506 billion kWh in 2035.
Although the power demand growth rate for the time ahead will slow down to about 8.5 percent in 2021-2025 and 7.5 percent in 2026-2030, compared to about 11 percent between 2016 and 2020, the demand will remain very high.
Power generation sources in Vietnam have a combined capacity of some 54,000MW at present, including plants using renewable sources like wind and solar energy. To meet the demand in 2020, the figure will have to be raised to 60,000MW in 2020 and 130,000MW in 2030. This causes a big challenge since many projects are lagging behind schedule, new power plant and transmission projects facing funding difficulties, a large amount of coal and gas for thermal plants imported, Vuong noted.
Therefore, saving and using energy efficiently will greatly help ensure power supply, he added.
The amount of energy used in industry accounts for over 47 percent of the total consumed across the country.
From 2011 to 2015, Vietnam saved 5 – 8 percent of the total energy consumed, comparable to 11 – 17 million tonnes of oil equivalent. Energy consumption in energy-intensive industries also declined gradually in this period, such as steel production (down 8.09 percent), cement (6.33 percent) and textile (7.32 percent), according to the ministry’s Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development Department.
In the national programme on economical and efficient energy use for 2019-2030, Vietnam plans to reduce the energy consumption by up to 16.5 percent in the steel sector, 10 percent in chemical manufacturing, 11 percent in cement production, and 24.81 percent in plastics production compared to the 2015-2018 period.
Assoc. Prof., Dr. Tran Dinh Thien, former Director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said sustainable and efficient energy use needs special attention, warning of a surge of old and energy wasting technologies in Vietnam in the time ahead as many investors shift their projects to the country to avoid impact of the US-China trade tension.
Other participants said apart from promoting the energy saving habit, new technological solutions should be applied to improve energy use efficiency.
Chairman of the Vietnam Automation Association Nguyen Quan, who is also former Minister of Science and Technology, said about 30 percent of the electricity output is currently used for lighting. If half of the amount of electricity consumed in this field at present is saved by using LED lights, it is equivalent to the energy generated by a 4,000MW nuclear power plant. New technologies will also help save about 10 percent of the electricity used by the 10 million air conditioners nationwide.
Do Huu Hao, Chairman of the Vietnam Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Association, also highlighted the need to renovate technology and improve productivity to save energy, calling for concrete activities to assist businesses to apply energy efficiency solutions.