Laos Wind Farms Provide Vietnam with 4,150 MW of Electricity

Seven wind energy projects in Laos are seeking to supply Vietnam with a total of 4,150 MW of electricity, as reported by Vietnam Electricity, the national utility.

This arrangement will occur in stages, with 682 MW to be delivered before 2025 and the remainder gradually thereafter. Vietnam is expected to eagerly embrace this offer.

However, according to EVN, if the National Energy Master Plan proceeds as scheduled, the central and southern regions of Vietnam would have sufficient power until 2030. Nevertheless, the northern region is projected to face shortages from 2025, particularly during the dry season from May to July.

Cost-effectiveness is also a significant consideration, with wind energy from Laos currently priced at 6.95 cents per kilowatt-hour compared to Vietnam’s range of 8.5-9.8 cents, depending on whether the plant is on land or offshore.

Since 2016, Vietnam has been importing energy, primarily hydroelectricity, from Laos under intergovernmental agreements.

The Ministry of Trade has included increasing electricity imports from neighboring countries in its plans for this year. However, several challenges must be addressed.

The electricity from Laos is expected to flow through transmission lines in Quang Tri Province, so the quantity of purchase will largely depend on the infrastructure in this area.

EVN’s analysis indicates that the proposed 4,149 MW exceeds the capacity of the local power grid. Most of its 200 kV and 110 kV lines are currently operating at 80-100% of capacity. During the dry season, the region can only handle a maximum of 300 MW of transmission, and even less during other times.

Once the grid infrastructure is enhanced, such as with the construction of the Huong Hoa 500 kV substation and connecting lines by late 2027, Vietnam could potentially import 2,500 MW from Laos. However, this would still fall short by 1,650 MW of the desired quantity.

Additionally, integrating more renewable energy into the national grid could disrupt existing plans. Domestic renewable energy accounted for 27% of grid capacity at the end of 2023 and is projected to increase to only 34% by 2030, according to the National Energy Master Plan.

Therefore, to maintain grid stability, EVN recommends that the Ministry of Trade purchase a maximum of 300 MW of wind power from Laos before 2025, specifically during peak demand periods. From 2026 to 2030, a maximum of 2,500 MW could be procured, according to EVN’s suggestion.

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