|President and CEO of Wärtsilä Håkan Agnevall
Việt Nam announced its goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, the UK on November 1.
In order to reach the ambitious clean energy targets, Việt Nam needs funds, technologies and expertise from global investors. Newly appointed President and CEO of Wärtsilä - one of the world's leading corporations in innovative technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets - Håkan Agnevall spoke to Việt Nam News about advanced solutions his company can offer Việt Nam to help the country achieve net-zero emissions.
What have been the key challenges since you took on the role of President and CEO of Wärtsilä nearly a year ago?
The global pandemic has had significant business impact for Wärtsilä, both in our marine and energy businesses. In energy, the pandemic has slowed down electricity demand growth and investments in new power plant capacity, especially in emerging markets, where many of our key customers operate.
We believe that the vaccination programs will have a positive impact on the pandemic. We trust the decarbonisation transformation taking place in both the marine and energy industries together with the economy’s recovery post COVID-19 will offer exciting opportunities for Wärtsilä in the longer term.
How has your past experience in the technology and transportation industry helped you with leading Wärtsilä?
I have been lucky to work in leadership positions in various industries and countries to gain valuable experience in sales, production, project management, research and development, and lifecycle services globally.
I have developed organisations and businesses with a strong focus on customers, technology and people, and believe that my experience will help strengthen Wärtsilä’s activities in these areas.
I believe that Wärtsilä can make a real difference for its stakeholders and the society through innovation focusing on sustainability and operational performance. The technology trends in clean energy, automation and connectivity offer exciting new business opportunities, and Wärtsilä is very well placed to be a leading player in the marine and energy markets of the future.
I'm looking forward to embarking on this journey together with our customers and the Wärtsilä team.
Wärtsilä has announced a commitment to achieving ambitious climate change-related targets for corporate operations and provided a product portfolio that will be carbon-free fuel-ready by 2030. How can this bring value to businesses?
Wärtsilä has recently announced the “Set for 30” commitment to achieving ambitious climate targets. Wärtsilä’s goal is to provide a product portfolio that will be ready for zero-carbon fuels by 2030 and to become carbon neutral in its own operations by the same time.
Our aim is to support our customers on their decarbonisation journey, thereby shaping a sustainable future for the marine and energy sectors. Our products, solutions and services will meet stringent environmental requirements, and the fuel flexibility of our engines powering these sectors is key for enabling the transformation. In parallel, we also need to do our part as an organisation and minimise our own environmental footprint.
In terms of our product portfolio, our internal combustion engines (ICEs) can currently run on natural gas, biogas, synthetic methane or hydrogen blends of up to 25 per cent hydrogen. Wärtsilä has invested a lot in R&D and has made a long-term effort in product development. We are developing our ICEs to be capable of transitioning to future fuels, including 100 per cent hydrogen and ammonia, future-proofing our customer assets.
During the COP26 conference, Việt Nam revealed its renewable energy targets. From your perspective, what is the potential of Việt Nam in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050? What will be the opportunities and challenges for Việt Nam?
I am personally impressed by Việt Nam’s announcement to achieve net-zero by 2050. This shows a real commitment and contribution from Việt Nam to join the urgent global climate action.
With our understanding of the outlook for Việt Nam, we at Wärtsilä believe that the country has all the potential needed to meet the net-zero target and is set to capitalise on the renewable's revolution in coming years.
Việt Nam has emerged as a hotspot for clean energy investment within Southeast Asia, driven by developments in solar. Since the introduction of the first solar feed-in-tariff in 2017, a boom of solar development over the last two years has resulted in more than 16 GW of capacity additions.
Over the next five years, wind projects are expected to lead the capacity additions. Developing and deploying these renewable power plants would create commercial and employment opportunities in Việt Nam. There will be opportunities for innovation in the future as new technologies are developed and scaled up to achieve net-zero for the country.
To achieve net-zero by 2050, Việt Nam will also need to overcome some challenges. One challenge is related to getting the necessary finance to facilitate the transition, which I believe will be greatly supported by international organisations and bilateral/multilateral co-operation.
Another challenge is to introduce technologies that are new to Việt Nam to support the transition. Policies and new regulatory frameworks need to be developed to attract investment for these technologies that will support the integration of renewable energy.
With available experience and technology at Wärtsilä, what necessary solutions can you offer Việt Nam to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions for future energy transition?
To achieve the net-zero targets, a significant amount of flexible balancing power plants is needed to ensure a stable energy supply when the sun doesn’t shine, or the wind doesn’t blow.
Our balancing gas power plants based on ICEs will play an important role to meet peak demand while maintaining system stability under the output fluctuation from solar and wind power plants. The ICEs can currently run on natural gas, biogas, synthetic methane or hydrogen blends of up to 25 per cent hydrogen and will later on be capable of transitioning to future fuels, including 100 per cent hydrogen and ammonia.
The values of flexible gas ICE have been clearly recognised in the recent drafts of Việt Nam’s Power Development Plan No 8 (PDP8) as Việt Nam is planning to switch from baseload coal to renewable energy and natural gas. With our global experience, we look forward to supporting Việt Nam during the implementation of the commitment, particularly the energy transition towards a sustainable and reliable power system. — VNS