Việt Nam News talks to Vietnamese and Danish lawmakers and experts about barriers that Việt Nam has faced in energy transition to reach sustainable development goals, experience from Denmark and the two countries’ partnership in the field.
Lê Hồng Tịnh, vice chairman of National Assembly’s Committee of Science, Technology and Environment
Việt Nam has followed the global trend of developing renewable energy. Located in the equatorial zone, Việt Nam has a natural advantage in solar power. In the context that hydropower potentials are running out and imported coal pollutes the environment, it is a priority of Việt Nam to implement wind and solar power policies.
However, if solar power develops at a too rapid speed, it will cause an imbalance in the power system. A cloud blocking the sun can interrupt the system.
European countries have their power system connected to a general European network. When the grid of one country is interrupted, they buy electricity from the general regional power system. Unlike Việt Nam, the power system is not connected to any regional network. Therefore in case of interrupted transmission, it is difficult to find alternative sources of energy.
Việt Nam has revised the Law on Electricity, Law on Economical and Efficient Use of Energy and related laws to attract and encourage the public to engage in using renewable energy.
The Vietnam Electricity has offered assistance of VNĐ1 million (US$43) for each household installing solar-powered water heaters. Now we have to adopt policies in which families can sell extra solar power on their roofs to integrate into the national grid.
We need also an electricity tax policy. The National Assembly has conducted studies to work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to make amendments and supplements to related laws.
Professor Trần Đình Long, full member of International Academy of Electrotechnical Sciences, vice president of Việt Nam Electrical Engineering Association
Việt Nam has not mapped out an appropriate plan for national electricity structure in the long term. Việt Nam used to target a low proportion of renewable energy in the plan. After that, following the global trend, the proportion of renewable energy has been adjusted to increase.
The percentage of renewable energy accounted for in the national electricity structure needs comprehensive planning on power sources and grids.
Experience from around the world including European countries, China and India shows renewable energy policies start from feed-in tariff and preferential treatment for clean energy. Việt Nam needs to conduct insightful research to adopt a general appropriate feed-in tariff policy. This must answer questions of how electricity prices are supported, through loans or preferential import-export policies.
Dr Vũ Minh Pháp, Institute of Energy Science, Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology
The barrier of Việt Nam is weakness in technology quality inspection. Technologies of solar and wind power from global manufacturers have entered Việt Nam at a rapid speed. However, there is no Vietnamese unit in charge of inspecting these devices to check whether the technologies are well suited to the Vietnamese environment. Another barrier is that there has been no study in Việt Nam that finds proper answers to the question of how to treat waste after solar and wind power projects reach their end of life.
Steen Gade, former member of Danish Parliament, former chairman of the Climate, Energy and Building Committee
I think Việt Nam needs to combine energy politics with climate issues. Việt Nam needs to combine economic growth with a very strong environmental and climate agenda.
Denmark has experience in involving people. It has been the centre in Denmark when we need high prices of energy, we discuss in public, in media, in organisations, among ordinary people to find out the best solution.
In Denmark, local farmers in rural areas made co-operatives where they own wind mills and they can sell wind power to the grid. That means it was an economic benefit for farmers, at the same time, it started the process of renewable energy. We combine economy and environment and we focus on renewable energy. We have developed action between people, topic discussions, media, education and politics.
Aton Beck, director of global co-operation, Danish Energy Agency
We have very good co-operation with the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the electricity of renewable energy authority on how to ensure more renewable energy in Việt Nam's system. On November 4th, we will launch a new Việt Nam’s energy outlook that will look into different kinds of scenarios for the long-term transition in Việt Nam. There is definitely a huge potential for wind, solar energy and biomass in Việt Nam.
Next year, Denmark will have more than 50 per cent of our electricity consumption based on wind. We can integrate it into our system. In 2028, we will have 100 per cent of electricity consumption based on wind.
Denmark has some good experience and we would like to share with Việt Nam.
Việt Nam has very successful economic growth but it also creates challenges in the energy sector including higher energy demand, higher dependence on coal, higher emissions of greenhouse gases and higher dependence on importing energy with dramatic increase in energy import.
We have good co-operation with the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade to ensure that Việt Nam has the right framework for having international developers coming to Việt Nam to invest. That is really important that you have transparent and simple framework conditions for renewable energy developers. — VNS