Long-awaited Vietnam energy plan aims to boost renewables, but fossil fuels still in the mix | Wagon Radio 720

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Power outages will leave Vietnamese homes and businesses without electricity for hours at a time, as prolonged drought and high temperatures strain the ability to sustain a burgeoning economy.

Long-awaited plans to solve energy shortages and help meet ambitious climate goals provide some mitigation, but may not be enough to move us away from fossil fuels. No, experts say.

The need for progress is clear.

Street lights have been turned off in some major cities and businesses have been told to reduce their energy use. A severe drought has caused two of Vietnam’s three largest hydropower plants to shut down almost completely.

“This is a big headache for us,” said Nguyen Thanh Tham, vice president of Hoa Long, a printing company in Hanoi. “We need electricity to run machines.”

The national energy plan, called Power Development Plan 8 (PDP8), aims to more than double the maximum electricity Vietnam can generate to about 150 gigawatts by 2030. This exceeds the power generation capacity of developed countries such as France and Italy, but falls far short of Japan’s 290 gigawatts. .

It calls for a radical shift away from highly polluting coal and expands the use of domestic gas and imported liquefied natural gas or LNG, accounting for about 25% of total power generation capacity, while hydro, wind, solar and other Renewable energy will dominate. It will reach almost 50% by 2030.

“The plan demonstrates Vietnam’s macroeconomic growth ambitions, with a firm plan to expand the generation capacity and related power sector infrastructure needed to meet the country’s growing energy needs,” said the United Nations. “Sustainable Energy for All,” Chief of Staff Kanika Chawla said. sustainable energy unit.

Vietnam’s new energy plan mandates that no new coal-fired power plants be built after 2030 as the country transitions to cleaner fuels, but total coal-fired power capacity will still reach increase and contribute about 20% of total energy production. Currently 30.8%.

According to the plan, Vietnam will phase out coal for power generation by 2050, switching all coal-fired power plants to biomass and ammonia.

Experts worry about the continued dependence on fossil fuels, the burning of biomass such as rice husks and sugar cane farm residues, and the switch to building new infrastructure for gas power plants.

In July 2022, Vietnam enacted a pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Late last year, the seven advanced economies pledged $15.5 billion to end their dependence on coal-fired power plants. Just the Energy Transition Partnership or his JETP. Such projects offer similar incentives to South Africa and Indonesia.Vietnam has pledged to phase out coal power by 2040 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in 2021.

“Coal is still part of the energy mix, but it is a notable change from the coal dependence Vietnam sees today,” Chawla said. “Despite little change in the absolute amount of thermal power generation, the share of the energy mix and future emissions will steadily decline in line with JETP.”

Vietnam has also been criticized for cracking down on environmental movements. The recent detention of prominent environmental activist Hoang Thi Minh Hong, the fifth activist to be arrested in the past two years, has prompted the German government to step up recent billions of dollars in support of the country’s coal phase-out. He warned that dollar-scale deals could be at risk.

Given its goal to expand its use of LNG (cooled natural gas made primarily from methane), a gradual exit from coal would not cause Vietnam to move away from fossil fuels, but would increase its production and Transport leakage contributes to global warming.

LNG itself is seen as a legacy industry to be phased out, but demand for LNG has skyrocketed following the disruption of natural gas supplies from Russia due to the war in Ukraine. That means prices will go up and supply security will go down.

“If it happens, it will be one of the largest users of gas in the region,” said Aditya Rola, head of Asia programs at independent energy think tank Ember. “If there is any disruption to gas supply, even for reasons outside Vietnam’s control, Vietnam could revert to using coal if alternative renewable energy capacity is not quickly built up. have a nature.”

Financing is also a challenge, as the plan plans to spend nearly $135 billion on new power plants and grids between now and 2030.

Climate Change Center Southeast Asia team leader Tran Nguyen said investors favor renewable energy sources.

“It is good that this plan gives investors clarity. I think the challenge is how to mobilize enough investment into something that has potential,” she said.

With rapid industrialization and nearly universal access to electricity, Vietnam has made great strides in expanding its use of renewable energy. By 2022, it will provide half of the country’s electricity production, up from just a quarter a decade ago. But grid upgrades have not kept up.

What is needed, Lora said, is a system-wide revamp “with a plan to develop renewable energy and integrate it holistically into the power system”, which will stabilize prices but reduce short-term electricity tariffs. He said it would likely lead to price increases. And in the long run power supply.

“PDP8’s focus on grid expansion and modernization is also helpful as it means fewer blackouts, greater grid stability and overall energy reliability for homes and businesses. ” he said. “First and foremost, it means increased access to clean energy for consumers and reduced emissions.”


Associated Press video journalist Hau Dinh contributed from Hanoi, Vietnam.


The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage is supported by several private foundations. Learn more about AP’s commitment to climate change here. AP is solely responsible for all content. Long-awaited Vietnam energy plan aims to boost renewables, but fossil fuels still in the mix | Wagon Radio 720

Related Articles

Back to top button