Sunday, December 17 2017

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Cần Thơ puts focus on solar power

Update: December, 05/2017 - 10:07

Quảng Ngãi Power Co workers check the solar power system installed on An Bình Island, Lý Sơn District, Quảng Ngãi Province. The Mekong Delta city of Cần Thơ hopes to develop solar energy to diversify its power sources. — VNA/VNS Ngoc Hà

HÀ NỘI — Cần Thơ City is keen on exploiting its renewable energy potential and will provide investors with tax and credit incentives, especially for solar power projects.

Võ Thị Hồng Ánh, Vice Chairman of the Cần Thơ People’s Committee, told the Vietnam News Agency that the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta city has a lot of potential for developing solar energy.

She said the city has already factored solar energy into its long-term development plan as part of diversifying power sources, particularly for remote areas that still lack electricity supply.

The impacts of climate change over the last five years, like prolonged hot weather, has seen electricity consumption rise by 10-12 per cent every year, said Nguyễn Văn Quảng, Director of the Cần Thơ Power Company.

In 2017, Cần Thơ’s highest daily power consumption was 8.1 million kWh, while the corresponding figure in 2016 was 7.1 million kWh, Quảng said.

Quảng said that although the city’s power sector was trying to maintain safe and continuous power supply. The rapid development of hi-tech agriculture and aquaculture, accompanied by increasing demand for electricity, was worrying the people of Cần Thơ, adding urgency to the search for stable alternative power sources.

Dương Nghĩa Hiệp, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said that among the renewable energy solutions, solar power was the most suitable and gets highest priority because it is a very clean form of energy compared to other options.

Lê Dương Cẩm Thuý, Deputy Director of Cần Thơ’s Department of Planning and Investment, said that the city was one of three localities absorbing the highest intensity of sunlight in Việt Nam. As such, investing in solar power plants was a must for the city.

According to the the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), annual electricity supply in the 2020-30 decade may fall short of demand, especially in the Mekong Delta.

The ministry expects Cần Thơ to spearhead the exploitation and development of solar power, becoming a power hub for the entire southern region.

International interest

At least three international corporations have proposed plans to set up solar power plants in Cần Thơ City.

By the end of 2015, Vetco Vina, a South Korean invested firm specialising in renewable energy and hospital management, proposed a plan to build a 130MW solar power plant worth VNĐ1.2 trillion (US$53.6 million) in Cần Thơ. The project will use the latest technology available in the RoK, the investor committed.

Vetco Vina also revealed a plan to build a solar-powered international standard hospital in Cần Thơ to help the city’s medical sector be less dependent on expensive diesel and gasoline generators.

In early June this year, the multinational group ET Solar held a working session with Cần Thơ authorities, seeking business opportunities in solar energy supply.

ET Solar said it wanted to build a system of solar power plants which are capable of generating nearly 200MW of electricity in Cần Thơ.

ET Solar has been successful in 15 countries and become a prestigious stock on the US securities exchange. In Việt Nam, ET Solar said it expects to build plants, sell products in the market and transfer technology to localities.

The US Dragon Capital Management Limited also discussed plans to build a solar energy plant with Cần Thơ authorities in late July.

The company’s investment director, Gavin Smith, said the city has favourable conditions for such a plant, adding that the company will begin feasibility studies in August, and construction could start in the first quarter of 2018.

Smith said the plant, with an initial investment of VNĐ1 trillion ($44 million), will be built in two phases, with the first phase having a capacity of 29MW and the second 100MW.

Vice Chairman Ánh said the city authorities highly appreciated the feasibility and economic significance of recent investment projects in Cần Thơ Province.

She believes that once the projects begin operating, they will not only reduce reliance on fossil-fuel based power sources, buy also create jobs for local residents.

Procedural hassles

Under current regulations, investors have to obtain the MoIT’s approval for projects with capacities of less than 50 MW, and that of the Government for higher capacities.

“This absolutely discourages investors, that’s the reason why some projects have been planned for a long time but have not been implemented yet,” Ánh said.

However, she added that local authorities are determined to realise the potential of solar power development in Cần Thơ, and will provide investors all support related to policies and provide relevant information.

Enterprises investing in renewable energy will also enjoy import tax incentives and preferential loans for scientific and technological development, Ánh pledged. — VNS

 

 

 

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