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Vietnam Faces Power Cuts Amid Heatwave

The biggest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, is looking to conserve electricity usage amid a heatwave that has depleted water reservoirs for hydropower, the source generating around one-third of Vietnam’s electricity.

Parts of Asia have been under a spell of hot and dry weather in recent weeks due to the forming of the El Nino pattern that brings dry and hot weather in most of Southeast Asia.

Coal is Vietnam’s single biggest power source, with a 46% share, followed by hydropower with 31%, according to BloombergNEF data from 2021.

As a result of depleted hydropower reservoirs, Ho Chi Minh City authorities have asked factories, shopping malls, and schools to turn off half of their elevators and turn off lights in hallways and parking areas. Street lighting is also being turned off earlier than before to conserve power. Officials at the administration are also asked to limit the wearing of formal outfits and suits to reduce the need for air conditioning amid the sizzling temperatures.

According to Vietnamese media, Ho Chi Minh City set four new daily electricity consumption records in less than one month due to the hot weather, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Power Corporation.

Temperatures in Vietnam and Laos hit records earlier this month.

China, for its part, is also bracing for possible power shortages during the summer.

Last month, Chinese officials warned that China’s electricity demand is set to increase, some areas of the country could face renewed power shortages at peak demand times this summer.

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The expected maximum power load would be higher than the 1,290 GW seen last year. In 2022, a heatwave depleted hydropower reservoirs, and power cuts were enacted in some parts of southwestern China. Back then, the outages led to factory shutdowns and declines in manufacturing production in August, which further weighed on the weak economic growth in China last year. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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