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High costs put firms off green technologies

Update: January, 07/2015 - 08:41
Polluting fumes rise from the Da Nang steel factory in Lien Chieu Industrial Zone. The large investments are discouraging businesses from applying environmentally-friendly technologies and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. — Photo

DA NANG (VNS) — Businesses will have to "seriously apply" environmentally-friendly technologies if the Lien Chieu Industrial Zone (IZ) is to reduce its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by five per cent by 2020, an expert cautioned yesterday.

But the large investments involved were discouraging businesses from doing what they had to do, Nguyen Trong Nghia of the Environment And Sustainable Development Department under the Institute for Industrial Polices & Strategies (IPSI), said at a workshop held in Da Nang City.

The workshop, titled ‘Action plan for Low Carbon Industrial Zones and Supporting Policies' aims to warn of the consequences and fallout of industrialisation in the near future, particularly at the Lien Chieu IZ, Nghia said.

It also discussed an action plan for enterprises.

"We have given out initial figures based on a survey of 20 businesses in Lien Chieu IZ done last year," Nghia said.

Energy-based production activities including that of cement, rubber and steel, emitted 27,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2013, accounting for 78 per cent of GHG emissions at the IZ, Nghia said.

The target is to reduce emissions to 24,800 tonnes in 2015 and 25,300 tonnes by 2020, he added.

Power consumption at the Lien Chieu IZ was 51 million Kilowatts per hour in 2013, and the target is to bring it down to 45.2 million KW/h by 2020, the workshop heard.

The IZ will also have to deal with the release of solid waste, wastewater and fuel consumption, Nghia said.

He said businesses were reluctant to shift to environmentally-friendly technology because of large investments, but they were eager to effect small scale changes in saving energy.

"Most businesses recognise the importance of reducing GHG emissions, but it needs a gradual plan."

He also warned that none of businesses in Lien Chieu IZ have achieved the ISO 50001 standard and rarely assigned staff for energy management.

Director of the Institute for Industrial Polices & Strategies under the ministry of Industry and Trade, Duong Dinh Giam, spoke about the project developed to help businesses in the central city build action plans on reducing GHG emissions.

The project, funded by the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office Prosperity Fund, has been implemented by The Asia Foundation since 2013.

He said two action plans for reducing GHG emissions in Da Nang Seafood processing IZ and the Lien Chieu IZ are among several project outcomes.

Senior Programme Officer for the Asia Foundation, Nguyen Tri Thanh, said: "This project is a rare effort to support local government to establish an effective tool to manage GHG emissions at the IZ level.

"By supporting enterprises in analysing their current emissions status, the project encourages them to reduce energy consumption, which also reduces their operational costs and improves their competitiveness."

Thanh said the biggest obstacle for enterprises and IZs is the lack of financial resources and limited technical capacity.

He said IPSI and TAF are looking for both technical consultants and international finance organizations working in EE (Energy Efficiency) and green production technologies to connect them with local government agencies and participating enterprises.

The project team is working with the International Financial Corporation's programme on resource efficiency to provide technical and financial support for businesses in both zones, he added.

In 2012, Da Nang was one of 20 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) cities chosen to carry out a Low-Carbon Model Town Project involving smart grids and renewable power generation.

The city had already cut 12,000 tonnes of carbon emissions through a pilot project and saved VND12 billion (US$570,000) in the 2008-2011 period. — VNS

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