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More efficient lighting critical to energy conservation effort

Update: July, 12/2012 - 09:23

Prof. Phan Hong Khoi from the Centre for Technology Development Assistance spoke to Viet Nam News about the need to promote energy saving measures.

What are some short – and long-term measures for promoting energy savings and what is the role of energy-efficient lighting in this process?

There are two major solutions for energy savings. The first has to do with promoting research and development of renewable energy, a major hurdle that even some developed countries have not overcome. The second solution has to do with using energy efficiently. In Viet Nam, we estimate that electricity used in lighting accounts for about 25 per cent of total electricity consumption. Therefore, efficient lighting plays an important role in saving electricity.

In lighting, we need to eliminate the use of incandescent lights and promote the use of efficient lighting products such as compact fluorescent lights and, in the future, ligh-emitting diodes (LED) lights, which have a much higher energy efficiency and are considered the new lighting source of the 21st century.

The US Department of Energy estimates that, by 2030, the annual energy savings from market penetration of LEDs will be approximately 297TWh, enough electricity to power 24 million homes. At current energy prices, that equates to $30 billion in savings by the year 2030.

Viet Nam has the potential to start taking command of LED technologies by 2015, which will allow us to gradually replace compact and fluorescent lamps.

What can we do to get ahead of the curve in advanced lighting technologies like LED?

Many countries consider energy efficiency in lighting as among the top priorities in energy saving. Following the Viet Nam Energy Efficiency Public Lighting Project, which ended in June 2011, we've begun working on procedures to start another project to assist Viet Nam in licensing the LED technology.

The project, which we expect to be funded by UNDP and the Global Environment Facility, will support Viet Nam in research and development and application of LED technologies. It's expected to get started in 2013 and will last for about three-and-a-half years. In addition to supporting local producers in licensing the technology, this project will also provide assistance in human resources development, criteria building, international expertise and the implementation of pilot LED projects.

Viet Nam is currently implementing another four-year project to eliminate the use of incandescent lights. Starting in January 2013, it's expected that the use of incandescent lights with output of 60W or above will be prohibited. That will also help pave the way for the market penetration of LED lamps. As local producers get a grasp of the technology, we expect that LED lights will be produced at reasonable prices in the near future.

What are the major obstacles to promoting LED and other efficient lighting technologies?

Currently, the application of efficient lighting in many buildings might be difficult due to the high cost of conversion, which would require investors be willing to incur the cost initially in return for long term savings.

The awareness of authorities, producers and the general public is still low. Most people do not fully realize the benefits of using LED lights, and many low-quality LED lamps made in China have already penetrated the market. The market currently has no regulation or standards related to LED products, and we also need to calculate the return-on-investment that LED lights would bring to certain projects within a certain period. — VNS

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