Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Under the renewable energy development strategy of Vietnam towards 2030 with a vision to 2050 that was approved by the Government in 2015, the country aims to increase the ratio of electricity from renewable sources from 35 percent of total electricity output in 2015 to 38 percent in 2020 and 43 percent in 2050.
According to Nguyen Van Vy, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Energy Association, Vietnam has abundant potential for renewable energy thanks to a long coastline and weather conditions favourable for the development of hydro, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal power and bio-fuel.
Research shows that Vietnam can generate about 8,000MW of small-scale hydropower, 200MW of wind power, 3,000MW of biomass power, and 35,000MW of solar power in 2030.
In the mainland, Vietnam can produce about 30GW of wind power, along with 100GW from offshore wind farms.
As of the end of 2018, Vietnam had 285 small hydropower plants with total output of 3,322MW, along with 8 solar power plants with 243MW in total output and 10 biomass power plants (212MW).
The Vietnam Electricity has signed power purchase agreements (PPA) with more than 100 solar power projects, two of which have become operational with combined capacity of 86MW.
So far, electricity generation from renewable sources, excluding medium- and large-scale hydro power plants), has accounted for 2.1 percent of the country’s electricity output.
Do Duc Quan, Vice Director General of the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that as of June 2019, total installation capacity of solar, wind and biomass projects reached about 2.5GW, and 2GW more of solar power will be added.
Quan said that in order to encourage renewable energy development, the ministry has submitted to the Government proposals on various mechanisms such as Feed-in-Tariff mechanism, as well as incentives for investors in access to credit, corporate income tax, land use, and PPAs.
Besides, experts suggested Vietnam should create a transparent investment environment and a clear policy roadmap with long vision to help investors make decision on long-term investment, he added.
However, Quan pointed out that the rapid growth of renewable energy recently has also created a number of challenges such as high investment cost, pressure on electricity grid infrastructure and large demand for land.
According to a report of the Vietnam Electricity, renewable energy development has also faced problems in the operation system. Due to a lack of official guidelines on payments, the EVN has yet to purchase households’ rooftop solar power. Alongside, big investment is also another problem.