Việt Nam, UK eye co-operation in renewables to mitigate climate change

July, 01/2022 - 06:44
Việt Nam and the UK have great potential for co-operation in renewable energy development, a conference heard in HCM City.
Chris Milliken, vice president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam, speaks at the ‘UK Market: Unlocking great potential by leveraging advantages of the UKVFTA’ conference in HCM City last week. — VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp

HCM CITY — Việt Nam and the UK have great potential for co-operation in renewable energy development, a conference heard in HCM City.

Speaking at the ‘UK Market: Unlocking great potential by leveraging advantages of the UKVFTA’ last week, Chris Milliken, vice president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam, spoke highly of Việt Nam’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at COP26 as part of efforts to mitigate climate change.

He said the two nations should expand cooperation in the field, especially off-shore wind power, which the UK has experience in and Việt Nam has potential.

The UK has focused on developing renewables such as wind and solar power as part of its efforts to adapt to climate change.

UK investors have shown special interest in investing in renewables in Việt Nam, especially off-shore wind energy, thanks to the country’s “huge offshore wind potential,” he said.

“It is willing to share its experience in developing renewable energy to reduce dependence on coal-fuelled energy.”

Major UK companies investing in renewable energy projects in the country include the Shire Oak International, Enterprize Energy and Mainstream.

Enterprize Energy has recently implemented an offshore wind power project in Việt Nam with the capacity to generate enough electricity for 1.6 million homes.

It is targeting commissioning the first string of turbines of the Kê Gà offshore wind power plant by the end of 2022.

According to the World Bank, Việt Nam has the capacity to generate up to 475GW of energy from wind within 200km from shore.

The country has already solicited domestic private investment to scale up solar from almost nothing in 2017 to more than 16,000MW this year, far exceeding targets.

Clean energy is becoming a global trend with every $1 investment in clean energy helping generate profits from $3-8, experts said.

Việt Nam will need huge investment to increase its renewable energy capacity, particularly solar and wind, to meet its commitment of net zero emissions by 2050, they added.

Renewable energy strategy by 2030

The Government has approved a renewable energy development strategy until 2030 that seeks to increase the share of renewables in installed power capacity from 38 per cent in 2020 to 43 per cent in 2050.

The Government also offers incentives to encourage the development of wind, biomass and solar power and energy from waste.

A speaker at the conference. — VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp

Hoàng Tiến Dũng, director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority, said developing renewables is a good alternative since hydropower sources are almost fully used up, thermal power has limited potential due climate change fears and gas-fired power is expensive.

The country has great potential for development of renewable energy: It can generate an estimated 855GW, mostly solar (434GW) and wind power (375GW). The potential for off-shore wind power generation is estimated at 158GW.

Nguyễn Ninh Hải, head of the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority’s renewable energy department, said off-shore wind energy generation is attracting increasing interest from foreign investors, especially from the UK.

Since off-shore wind power is quite new to Việt Nam, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will work with research organisations to make a comprehensive evaluation of its potential, he said.

Speaking at a recent meeting with the media, Dutch ambassador to Việt Nam, Elsbeth Akkerman, said Việt Nam has everything to become a renewable energy superpower.

With its long coastline and availability of strong winds, the country is well positioned to fully meet its energy demand with renewables and even become an energy exporter, she said.

The solar energy revolution has largely taken off in the past two years and growth in the wind energy sector is expected in the next five to 10 years, she added.

At the end of 2020 Việt Nam’s total renewable energy production accounted for around 25 per cent of its total installed capacity of 69,000MW.

There were 148 solar power projects with a total capacity of more than 8,800MW, 100,000 rooftop solar units with a capacity of 9,300MW and 11 wind power plants with a capacity of 511MW.

Việt Nam has among the most sunlight hours in Asia and is one of the ripest markets for solar energy due to the high demand.

Despite the impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Việt Nam and the UK achieved bilateral trade of $6.6 billion last year, up 17.2 per cent from the previous year, according to figures from Việt Nam Customs.

As of May this year there were 462 British investment projects with total registered capital of $4.15 billion. — VNS