A ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of Circuit 1 of the North-South 500kV power transmission line was held in Hanoi on May 27.

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said the two-year construction of the first extra-high voltage line was one of the finest achievements of Vietnam’s electricity sector, adding momentum to the ongoing development of the national system.

Hai stressed the line had basically tackled a serious shortage of electricity for the central and southern regions in the early 1990s, because power plants in the south met only 89.73 percent of the demand for energy then.

The line’s Circuit 1, put into operation in 1994, has contributed greatly to national socio-economic development. It has helped raise the country’s GDP growth to 9.5 percent in 1995 from 5.1 percent in 1990, while industrial production saw annual rises of 12-14 percent in the five-year period.

Mentioning the electricity sector’s possible future challenges, Hai requested the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to heighten the competitive edge of the domestic electricity market and attract more investment to expanding the national grid.

Under the plan, an annual capital of 17 trillion VND (799 million USD) will be poured into developing the system in the 2014-2020 period, he noted, suggesting the EVN continue to learn from foreign partners’ experience in constructing and developing a grid at a low cost.

Circuit 1, together with Circuit 2 that was put into operation in 2005, is a backbone of the national power transmission system and helps improve the quality and supply of electricity, EVN Chairman Hoang Quoc Vuong said.

Since their operation, both circuits have transmitted more than 12 billion kWh per year.

On May 5, the Pleiku-My Phuoc- Cau Bong 550kV transmission line, considered as Circuit 3 of the North-South 500kV extra-high voltage line, was connected to the national power grid in order to ensure the electricity supply in this year’s dry season and the southern region’s demand for the power in the years to come.-VNA