Gov’t directs review of national grid overload due to solar power boom
14:05 | 15/07/2019
VGP – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has tasked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to review a media report saying many solar power plants are operating under capacity due to national grid overload.

Over the past time, Viet Nam witnessed a boom in construction of solar power plants thanks to the introduction of the Prime Minister’s Decision No.11/2017/QD-TTg on mechanisms to encourage the development of solar power projects.

Under the decision, all solar power plants across the country shall enjoy a feed-in tariff (FIT)  of 9.35 cents per kilowatt-hour for a period of 20 years if they begin commercial operation before June 30, 2019.

As a result, an unprecedented number of solar power plants came into operation in a short period of time to enjoy the Government’s pricing incentive, leading to abundant output and putting pressure on transmission lines.

In the first  six months of 2019, nearly 90 plants with the combined design capacity of approximately 4,500 MW were connected to the national grid, accounting for 10% of the national total capacity.

Thanks to its greatest solar potential, the central provinces of Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan are top investment destinations with 15 and 19 solar power plants, respectively, having total capacity of 1,871 MW, according to Nguyen Duc Cuong, Director of the National Load Dispatch Center.

Cuong said no other country witnessed such boom of solar power plants and that is overloading the national grid, particularly the DZ 110kV Thap Cham-Phan Ri line was operating upto 260-360% of its capacity.

If measures are not taken, the overload situation will further worsened in 2020 while solar power plants have to operate under capacity, the Center warned.

Besides wind power plants are also operating limitedly due to the national grid overload.

Bui Van Thinh, Chairman of the Binh Thuan province Wind Association said it needs 3-5 years to complete construction of 220- 500KV transmission lines while a solar power plant could be completed within 6-12 months.

According to the power planning scheme, Viet Nam expects to produce 850MW of solar energy by 2020 but the current connected solar power plants have total capacity of 4,500MW and the figure will rise to 11,900MW in 2020.

Tran Dinh Nhan, CEO of the Viet Nam Electricity (EVN) said he has pressed its member companies to accelerate construction of 110KW transmission lines to ensure that no solar power plants have to operate under capacity by 2020./.

By Huong Giang

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