Experts urge a legal framework for Vietnam’s green electricity export opportunities


Some Southeast Asian countries have expressed interest in purchasing Vietnam's renewable energy, according to the Institute of Science and Environment, Seas and Islands under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

According to Dư Văn Toán from the institute, Vietnam 's total installed power capacity hit 78.4 GW by 2021, making it the largest power system among ASEAN nations. Vietnam has also made significant investments in renewable energy in recent years.

Vietnam’s offshore wind power is projected to reach 6,000 MW by 2030, with a goal of surpassing 70,000 MW by 2050. 

The National Power Development Plan VIII for the 2021 - 2030 period outlines a path for the strong development of offshore wind power, as well as other renewable energy including solar, onshore wind power, hydro, and biomass to meet domestic and export demands.

"We have been contacted by a company based in Singapore about the purchase of 4 GW of renewable energy per year and another offer for 10 GW from companies in Malaysia," said Toán.

However, he said that potential buyers must start studying Vietnam's laws and regulations regarding renewable energy. 

He believes the next step for Vietnamese policymakers is to figure out what part and how much renewable energy the country produces can be designated for export. 

Under Power Plan VIII, Vietnam has set a goal to export 5,000-10,000 MW of energy by 2030. However, this is a secondary objective as ensuring stable energy supply for domestic needs comes first. 

Phạm Văn Thiều, Chairman of the People's Committee of Bạc Liêu Province, said the province and neighboring provinces of Cà Mau and Sóc Trăng, possess huge untapped potential in the development of renewable energy, especially in offshore wind and solar power capacity ranging from 26,000-30,000 MW.

He said that once fully developed, there will likely be excess capacity that can be directed to export to countries in the region.  He urged the central government to quickly formulate a legal framework for energy trading. 

However, competition will likely be stiff. Singapore, a potential customer of Vietnam's renewable energy, has been in the process of evaluating some 20 proposals from sellers, including companies from Australia, India and Cambodia. 

Thiều said it's high time for Vietnam to put together a mechanism for energy export to seize opportunities once supply is secured.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment also said earlier that Power Plan VIII must identify electricity export projects and develop renewables for export. 

Economist Nguyễn Hữu Thái Hòa said there is still much to be done to improve country's investment policy, especially in a new frontier such as renewable. He said energy projects typically require large capital investments and without favorable policies, are often considered as high-risk. 

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