EVN’s Vice President Ngo Son Hai: Actively preparing plans for securing electricity supply

In 2019 there will be many difficulties in operating the power system since coal/gas supply and water inflow to hydropower reservoirs are unfavorable. In that context, what solutions will Viet Nam Electricity take to secure a safe and stable electricity supply? Mr. Ngo Son Hai – Vice President of EVN had a conversation with the Power Magazine around this issue.

EVN’s Vice President Ngo Son Hai

Reporter: Dear sir, what is the biggest challenge faced by EVN in operating the power system in 2018?

Mr. Ngo Son Hai: 2018 was a difficult year in operating the national power system as the load growth rate was quite high, about 10.86% compared to 2017, with 2.2 billion kWh higher than the plan approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In addition, some difficulties were arisen such as: a decrease in gas supply, unstable coal supply for thermal power plants, etc. In the last 3 months of 2018, the gas supply capacity of Nam Con Son Basin was only 16.5 million m3/day, or equivalent to 75% of the previous capacity. The operation of gas supply sources faced a lot of incidents and remedial durations usually took long time.

On the other hand, hydrological conditions in hydropower reservoirs were not favorable. Water inflows to hydropower reservoirs in the Central and Southern regions were very low and so far no signs of improvement have been seen.

Reporter: In that context, how has EVN operated the power system to ensure a safe and stable power supply?

Mr. Ngo Son Hai: EVN has taken a wide range of solutions to improve the reliability of power supply such as: managing the maintenance of power generation and grid facilities right in the end of 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018, so that from the second quarter of 2018 the power system operated at the highest availability.

EVN intensely directed its member organizations to closely coordinate with organizations outside EVN in creating favorable conditions to bring new power plant projects into operation on schedule; coordinate with coal suppliers in solving hindrances to supply coal for thermal power plants; coordinate with the National Gas Corporation to secure the existing gas sources in a stable operation, limit enduring incidents, in parallel bring new gas fields into operation soon, meeting gas demand for electricity generation.

Hydropower companies have been using water resources economically, keeping water levels as high as possible, ensuring sufficient water to meet water requirements of the power system as well as agriculture production and residential use of people in downstream areas in the peak of dry season.

EVN has developed electricity supply plans on hot sunny days with a scenario of high power load growth simultaneously in all three regions, thereby introducing preparedness and response solutions in case of long-lasting and wide spreading scorching hot weather.

Reporter: What, in your opinion, are the biggest difficulties and challenges in operating power system in 2019?

Mr. Ngo Son Hai: Firstly are difficulties in coal and gas fuel supplies for power generation. Secondly, due to unfavorable hydrological situation in the flood season of 2018 in the Central and Southern reservoirs, flood inflows were not seen in many reservoirs, most of the reservoirs will not be able to store water up to the normal water level, consequently it would be very difficult to meet water demand of downstream areas as well as ensure power generation in the dry season of 2019.

A big and also new challenge in 2019 is the penetration of renewable energy sources (wind, solar) into the power system. As scheduled, a large number of renewable energy plants, especially solar power plants, will start injecting power into the system with a total capacity of about 2,200MWp.

With natural physical characteristics, solar power sources are intermittent since power generation output depends on solar radiation. Besides, the simultaneous factor is quite high, which means that electricity is generated from these sources simultaneously in daytime and stop being generated in nighttime. This will consequently create a large change in power generation in a very short time while the system's reserve is not high enough. This will impose a huge challenge that the Viet Nam power system has never ever faced in the past.

Reporter: What does EVN do to instantaneously solve difficulties in coal, gas supply and reservoir inflow?

Mr. Ngo Son Hai: EVN will continue to discuss and sign contracts with coal/gas suppliers, drastically resolving problems relating to primary fuel supply for power plants, securing sufficient fuels for thermal power plants. In case of insufficient domestic coal supply, EVN will take the initiative in importing coal and coordinate with Vinacomin and Northeast Corporation in importing coal for power generation.

Regarding the water storage of hydropower reservoirs in the Central and the South: When realizing the risk of no water inflows, EVN has directed the National Load Dispatch Center (A0) to dispatch at the maximum coal fired and gas fired power plants, with the aim of saving and storing water as backup source for hydropower plants. Power generating organizations actively worked with local People's Committees to reach agreement on water requirements of downstream areas in the remaining months of 2018 and the dry season of 2019 on the basis of the remaining water levels in hydropower reservoirs and forecasting water inflows in the coming time, ensuring an efficient, economical use of water, compromising between the two objectives of water use, one for power generation and the other for downstream areas.

Reporter: What about the integration of renewable energy into the national power system?

Mr. Ngo Son Hai: EVN has developed a plan to organize training courses for improving knowledge for units in operating renewable energy sources, taking advantage of supports from foreign organizations with rich experiences in renewable energy such as GIZ, DEPP, USAID, etc. Accordingly, EVN will instruct operating organizations to study and apply technical solutions that have been proven in the world to solve renewable energy penetration related problems in Viet Nam such as: Investing in solar energy forecasting system, renewable energy resource management system, power quality monitoring system; proposing revision of regulations related to renewable energy, completing operation procedures, operation and troubleshooting plans for renewable energy resources.

In analyzing and balancing an energy mix for 2019, EVN has directed A0 to analyze and develop 4 scenarios corresponding to load growth rates and frequencies of water inflows to hydropower reservoirs, accordingly making a general assessment of the supply and demand balance of power system. As for integration of renewable energy, EVN has directed A0 to perform simulation calculations before putting the plants into operation, proposing recommendations and solutions for evacuating the generated power, securing the system operation in a safe, continuous and stable manner.

Reporter: Could you please tell us why the Group choses the theme "Improving the efficiency of power system and electricity market operation” for the year 2019?

Mr. Ngo Son Hai: In 2019, EVN selects the theme "Improving the efficiency of power system and electricity market operation" with the goal of ensuring a safe, interrupted and stable electricity supply to sufficiently meet the country's socio-economic development needs; operating power generation facilities, power transmission, distribution networks and the electricity market in a proper and optimal way so that production and business activities will bring about the highest efficiency.

Reporter: Thank you!

  • 08/01/2019 03:41
  • evn.com.vn