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Vietnam receives $500 World Bank loan for smart grid, energy infrastructure

Iain Morris
November 18, 2014

Vietnamese authorities have signed an agreement with the World Bank for a $500 million loan to support the rollout of smart grid technologies and make other improvements to the country’s electricity supplies.

The agreement will see Vietnam stump up an additional $231.25 million to support energy sector improvements, including the construction of more than 1,000 kilometers of transmission lines and investment in remote-monitoring technologies.

Smart grids have been deployed in other parts of the world and allow energy customers to monitor their usage in real time and gain more control over spending.

Utilities, meanwhile, have seen them as a way to improve customer service and increase efficiency and productivity within their organizations.

“Improving energy efficiency is critical for Vietnam’s ability to meet energy demand to power growth and maintain improvements in welfare,” said Victoria Kwakwa, the country director for the World Bank in Vietnam. “Energy efficiency improvements are also important for reducing Vietnam’s rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to climate change mitigation.”

According to a statement issued by the World Bank, the $500 million loan will support a so-called Transmission Efficiency Project, which is expected to improve the capacity, efficiency and reliability of electricity transmission in various areas deemed critical to Vietnam’s economy, including the Greater Hanoi Area, the Greater Ho Chi Minh City Area, the Mekong Delta and the Central Region.

The World Bank says the loan will finance the construction of transmission lines and substations constituting about 15% of the expected need for transmission network expansion by 2020.

The smart grid technologies are to include various systems for monitoring, controlling and protecting equipment to improve reliability and reduce electricity outages.

Smart grid technology is also intended to support the “financial independence” of the Vietnam’s National Power Transmission Company as part of a plan to pilot a competitive energy wholesale market by 2015.

The Vietnamese funding contribution of $231.25 million will be provided through National Power Transmission Company.
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