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VN plans for sun, wind power   2010-11-25 - VNS

Development of renewable energy, including wind and solar power, is a must for Viet Nam's continued growth as hydro- and thermo-power production face increased challenges, according to experts.

To Quoc Tru, director of the Viet Nam Energy Consultancy Centre, said at a seminar yesterday on renewable energy and environment in HCM City that the country had built many hydropower projects and that several of its rivers had been fully tapped.

Under this scenario, Viet Nam will have to look to coal imports to satisfy the energy needs of thermo-power plants, although it can produce up to 70 million tonnes annually.

Power production, depending on oil and gas, would also have limited supplies. The first nuclear power project would only begin operation in 2020, if it was built on schedule, Tru noted.

He also cited figures from a survey of the World Bank that estimated the total wind power potential in Vietä Nam at around 513.360 MW, equivalent to 200 times the output of the Son La hydropower power plant, and 10 times the total capacity of the country forecast for 2020.

According to Nguyen Hoang Dung of Power Engineering Consulting Joint Stock Company 3, several off-grid wind power projects have been implemented on a small scale with a capacity of less than 20kW.

With 13 projects, central Ninh Thuan Province has the highest number of wind-power projects, with four of them having obtained investment licenses. Their total capacity for the first phase is 277MW.

In central Binh Thuan Province, there are 12 wind-power projects and four have investment licenses.

The total capacity of 12 of those projects is 1,541 MW. One project in the province has become operational with the first five turbines, with a total of 7.5MW.

As of June, 11 provinces or cities in the southern coastal area have a total of 37 projects that are developing at different steps, with total registered capacity of 3,837MW.

One project is operating in the first phase (7.5 MW), two projects are under technical design, and 10 projects are waiting for the final feasibility study. Only two of the provinces and cities lack investors.

China has wind power capacity of up to 26,000MW and the figure for India is nearly 11,000 MW.

Experts at the seminar agreed that solar power was still modest in Viet Nam, totalling around 1.4MW, although the country has potential, especially in central areas.

One difficulty is the high investment cost required for this kind of power, not only in Viet Nam but globally as well.

Sustainable

Tru proposed that the State act quickly to assess Viet Nam's potential for renewable energy (first in wind and solar power), and then outline development strategies, including that for the national electricity grid.

He also wants policies to support financial investment, equipment technology, localisation and international cooperation for renewable energy production.

The Government has been asked to issue in the fourth quarter a decree on support mechanisms to encourage renewable energy development.

"Research and production should be carried out on the use of highly localised equipment for renewable energy, especially wind and solar power, that would be suitable to Viet Nam's natural conditions," he said.

Human resources for renewable energy was also a major issue, he said.

Dung also raised the need for a master plan for a wind-power development, which would also deal with land use, voltage transformer station and grid expansion.

"A tariff on wind power and financial policies for specific assistance for wind power have not been issued," said Dung.

In August, the Ministry of Industry and Trade completed a draft by the Prime Minister on the management of construction investment for wind-power projects.

As part of the draft, EVN would be responsible for mobilising funds and giving priority to purchase all electricity produced from a grid connection and wind-power projects linked to the country's grid. —VNS

Negotiation with EVN on power prices, however, is still a challenge to project owners.

During the one-day event, experts also discussed energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy in Southeast Asia.

Nine Thai companies participated in the seminar and a business-to-business session to look for co-operation in renewable energy



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