Power plants face ‘dead level” threat

Published: 26/03/2011 05:00



A farmer in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai uses water from a nearby lake to irrigate his plants. Reservoir water levels in the region are so low that power plants will have to shut down.

Water levels in almost all reservoirs in the southern and Tay Nguyen (Central Highland) regions have dropped close to the “dead level” at which hydroelectric plants cannot operate, plant officials say.

This has forced them to cut production drastically, they add.

Le Van Quang, deputy director of the Da Nhim – Ham Thuan – Da Mi Hydroelectric Joint Stock Company, said that as of March 15, the water level in the Ham Thuan reservoir had fallen to 585 metres, just 10 metres above from the dead level.

The water flow running into the reservoir was just 6cu.m per second, a decrease of 20 times compared to the same period last year, Quang told the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.

It was estimated that the Ham Thuan reservoir would experience the dead level in May, forcing the 300MW Ham Thuan Hydropower Plant to stop operating, he said.

The company’s Da Nhim, Ham Thuan and Da Mi hydropower plants have all had to cut production.

The Tri An Hydropower Plant in Dong Nai Province is generateing just 1 million kWh a day, down 60 per cent against the same period last year, as the water level in its reservoir is just four metres above the dead level.

“If the plant continues to operate at the current rate, the water will reach the dead level in May,” said Vo Tan Nhan, deputy director of the Tri An Hydropower Company.

Severe drought

The Yaly Hydropower Company estimates that its Yaly, Pleikrong and Se San 3 plants, the largest in the Tay Nguyen region, have produced about 1 billion kWh in this year’s dry season compared to 1.7-1.8 billion kWh in previous dry seasons because water flows into reservoirs had dropped to two-thirds of the average volume of previous years.

Seven of 19 hydropower plants in Gia Lai Province, including Ia Drang 2, Ia Hlop, IA Krel, Ia Kha and Ia Muer 3, have halted operations because of water shortage, according to the Gia Lai Power Company.

The production capacity of the seven plants was not large, so their stoppage had not seriously affected power supply for local residents, the company said.

Tay Nguyen was experiencing a much more severe water shortage during this year’s dry season, so the prospect of power shortage increased day by day, a company official said.

Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN), the national power utility, has instructed its National Electricity Regulatory Centre and relevant agencies to strictly monitor the situation of reservoirs and regulate the operation of power plants in order to ensure safety and improve power supply.

Hydropower plants supply nearly 40 per cent of the country’s electricity, according to the EVN.

To mitigate the looming power shortage, the group plans to buy 4.671 billion kWh of electricity from China this year.

In the first two months of this year, the EVN bought 956 million kWh of electricity from China, up 28.9 per cent against the same period last year.

Source: VNS

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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