Saving energy in heatwave: Vietnam reduces city lights

As abnormally high temperatures threaten to strain the nation’s power sources, cities in Vietnam are reducing the use of public lights to preserve energy.

In recent months, a scorching heatwave has engulfed many of Asia, leading to health warnings in numerous Asian nations, school closures, and fatalities in India.

This month, Vietnam’s state utility EVN issued a warning about unusually high temperatures that could put pressure on the country’s power grid due to an increase in electricity demand and exceptionally low water levels at several hydropower dams.

According to Ministry of Industry as well as Trade, the country’s vital manufacturing sector would be able to use less energy thanks to conservation efforts. According to the government, street lights in the nation’s capital, Hanoi, are being switched on 30 minutes later and off 30 minutes earlier than usual. There are no street lights in public parks and along certain main thoroughfares.

According to a statement from the ministry, “authorities in many provinces and cities have taken measures to save energy to ensure stable and safe electricity supplies.”

People have been reminded to use air conditioning only when necessary and to turn off electronics that are not in use. At the same time, office buildings and shopping malls in cities, including the popular tourist destination Da Nang, have been asked to cut back on the energy use of their external lighting systems.

The past eight years were warmest on record as far as current science is concerned. The year 2022 was one of the hottest on record globally. Scientists have issued a warning about rising temperatures.

Earlier this week, Petteri Taalas, the head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), warned that the upcoming warmer El Nio and human-caused climate change would “push global temperatures into uncharted territory.”

Taalas foresaw “far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management, and the environment”.

The extremely high temperatures across Asia have disrupted teaching and raised concerns about potential drought conditions. Due to the high heat earlier this month, schools in the Philippines’ most populous, Quezon metropolis, were allowed to cut their hours.

In contrast, at least two Indian states ordered schools to close for a week in April. In May, Malaysia decided to stop outdoor activities and allowed kids to attend class non-uniform during the hot weather.

According to climatologist and weather historian Maximiliano Herrera, the heatwave affecting Asia is “arguably the worst tropical heatwave in world climatic history” due to its intensity of temperatures, geographical spread, and duration. Herrera frequently tweets about record temperatures.

In southeast Asia, notably Vietnam, where 44.1C was recorded earlier this month at Tuong Duong in Ngh An province, monthly records have been shattered.

According to Herrera, the region was still experiencing extremely high temperatures. At least for some areas, like Yunnan [southwest China], he warned that the worst may yet be to come.

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