|Sébastien Prioux, country manager at GreenYellow for Vietnam and Cambodia |
One of the measures to reduce carbon emissions is to promote renewable energy development and attract foreign investment into the sector. Could you tell us about the potential and development goals of Vietnam's renewable energy sector?
The announcement made by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 is indeed very ambitious, but we are very grateful to see that Vietnamese leaders are pushing all stakeholders into this direction. However, both private investors and state authorities will have to overcome a series of technical, regulatory, and financial challenges along the way.
In the short term, it seems impossible in practice to stop all current coal power plants, thus a practical roadmap must be set up for these assets. At the same time, the power generation from renewables needs to be increased to balance the reduction of coal power plants.
Wind offers the biggest potential, followed by solar and hydropower. Solar is already playing a significant role in the energy mix, from both solar farms and solar rooftops, but a better and clearer regulation must be addressed for the sake of grid stability.
We also need regulations that favour on-site self-consumption for all private factories in Vietnam for them to be able to source part of their energy consumption from renewables. Most of the factories in Vietnam have export activities and international clients, with related commitments for direct green energy supply, and solar could be the main driver for it.
What are GreenYellow’s activities in the Vietnamese market and the strategy and goals of energy development that the company set out here?
GreenYellow opened its office in Vietnam at the end of 2019. After two years of operation, we own more than 65MWp of solar rooftop projects in the country, developed, financed, and operated with a team of 45 people.
We also started multiple energy audits for our core business' energy efficiency. In 2022, we will try to expand in the market with all our one-stop service platform solutions. Solar power generation is among these, but also energy efficiency, carbon credit certifications, and energy storage for private clients and the grid utility. All these solutions are combined to reach one target – optimise the electricity bills of our clients and help them reduce their carbon footprint.
What are the competitive advantages of GreenYellow and what makes you believe that you can achieve the goals?
Technical expertise and full equity financing are the key advantages. We have built a team of in-house experts able to control all processes from the development to the maintenance of the projects, including legal processes, engineering, design, procurement, and construction supervision. I think GreenYellow is one of the largest teams in Vietnam in the renewables industry. People are our main asset, and we are lucky to have a dedicated and business-oriented squad.
The second advantage is our ability to finance all our projects with full equity, thanks to very strong shareholders with a long-term vision. The industry is very cash-consuming, but we can bring enough equity to manage all construction works by ourselves, without requiring any bank loan or external funding.
This can speed up project management, and our clients can see the difference in our ability to execute our contracts immediately. We are loyal players, we do what we say, and we respect timelines.
Vietnam is the third-largest market of GreenYellow. Do you plan to promote the position?
GreenYellow sees Vietnam as a very potential market for the coming years due to its growing energy needs, a big presence of industrial zones and factories, and the soon-to-be new regulation, the Power Development Plan VIII.
Our initial growth has been recognised internally as the fastest one in less than two years among the 16 countries where we operate, and our time-to-market was very good in the solar rooftop segment. It’s always easier to succeed when you’re one of the first players.
Now is the time for GreenYellow to diversify in other market segments to remain a pioneer. We will try to implement our first energy efficiency agreements with key factories to reduce their electricity bills with guaranteed savings, and we also have some pilot energy storage ready to be implemented at two sites, in partnership with Electricity of Vietnam and state authorities.
What experience accumulated in Thailand can be brought to Vietnam?
We already took much of our experience from Thailand and brought it to Vietnam. However, in Thailand, you cannot inject electricity onto the grid, so our team have developed zero-export devices which we implemented in all our projects in 2020 and 2021 in Vietnam.
We were the first player to share this tool with state authorities. We also use the same IT and monitoring platforms developed by our team in Thailand to monitor all 60 solar projects in real-time across the country in Vietnam. The next move will be to welcome some experts from other countries such as Brazil and France where GreenYellow has implemented more than 100 lighting optimisation contracts, air conditioning replacements, and other projects. Energy savings can come from different sources, and we’re excited to welcome the new year with all these challenges.