Priorities shift for nation’s power plan

December 01, 2021 | 08:00
After outlining its goals to go greener as the world tackles climate change together, Vietnam is sending a signal to investors to embrace renewables, especially offshore wind. However, such investors await the details of exactly which energy sources will be favoured by the long-awaited Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8).
Priorities shift for nation’s power plan
Priorities shift for nation’s power plan, photo: freepik.com

In the last couple of weeks, a series of meetings took place to collect opinions from investors, organisations, and localities about the draft of the PDP8 on the back of the prime minister announcing Vietnam’s ambition to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the COP26 climate summit. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is being instructed to overhaul the PDP8 draft, which currently relies heavily on coal-fired power.

Luu Hoang Ha, director of Nami Energy, said, “With financing for coal power dying out and with Vietnam putting climate change response as one of its top priorities while preparing to compete for greener investment, the current PDP8 draft is expected to be significantly overhauled to create much more room for renewable energy, sustainable energy solutions, and liquefied natural gas-to-power. Policy discussions on nuclear power shall be forthcoming as well.”

According to the latest draft, Vietnam will increase offshore wind power capacity to 4GW from 1GW and onshore wind capacity to nearly 17.34 GW by the end of the decade.

Regarding the latest draft, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Dang Hoang An emphasised that the plan is following the trend of developing clean, renewable energy on the road to reducing emissions as committed. “In the field of renewable energy, attention should be paid to ensuring the efficiency, harmony, and balance of the system. Offshore wind power plays an important role and will be prioritised in the coming period. The master plan will reconsider the development of solar power, which currently has the disadvantage of having a limited number of operating hours,” he said.

Nguyen Hoang Thong from the Centre for Education Growth and Research, discussing the PDP8 draft, recommended that the government’s commitments at COP26 should be concretised with appropriate scenarios and roadmaps. “The plan needs to allow the development of low- or zero-emission power sources, while at the same time consider carbon capture and storage technology, as well as show how much it will cost to implement this,” noted Thong.

Some pioneering developers see these advantages as outweighing the challenges. Mathias Hollander, senior manager of Copenhagen Offshore Partners – which is overseeing the 3.5GW La Gan offshore wind farm project – remarked that the government is moving in the right direction with the draft discussions.

“We are happy to see the government taking action to fight climate change. Vietnam has the opportunity to tap into a huge offshore wind potential and lead the path towards net zero by 2050,” Hollander said.

On December 1-2, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Informa Markets Vietnam will be hosting the Vietnam Wind Power 2021 exhibition and conference, both online and at the International Convention Centre in Hanoi. This is the official wind industry event for Vietnam’s growing wind power sector, and the panel will discuss the latest and exclusive insights on policies, measures, and actions that the government and the industry need to advance the country’s energy transition.

With world-class wind resource potential, Vietnam is poised to be Southeast Asia’s offshore wind leader over the next decade. The recent developments in Vietnam – which include its 2050 net zero commitment at COP26 and plans to increase wind targets in the nation’s power development plan – have demonstrated the government’s determination to phase out coal and embark on a net zero pathway in the next decade.

This is a crucial moment for Vietnam, and the country must seize its renewables potential now to ensure its energy security, economic growth, and limit the impact of climate change. The conference will gather international and local wind energy leaders, investors, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss the opportunities and challenges in this burgeoning market.

Scheduled to be among the 55+ speakers include Danish Ambassador to Vietnam Kim Hojlund Christensen, Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam Grete Lochen, and Liming Qiao, Asia director of the GWEC.

By Nguyen Thu

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