Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. (Photo: iStock)
The Scientific Council of Vietnam Energy Magazine announced the Top 10 events of Vietnam’s energy industry in 2023 on January 1, 2024. This list was selected based on independent research, evaluation, and referencing government-related departments, institutions, and international organization databases. The events must be breakthrough, differentiated, unique, and in line with the socio-economic development of the energy industry.
1. Approval of National Energy Master Plan and 8th Power Development Plan
Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh approved Decision No. 893/QD-TTg on July 26, 2023, for the "National Energy Master Plan for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050" (NEMP). The decision aims to create a new era for the development of Vietnam's energy and mining industries, enhancing efficiency and sustainability. It seeks to harmonize the development of natural gas, coal, traditional electricity, new energy, and renewable energy, aligning with the trends of green growth, green economy, circular economy, and low-carbon economy.
Meanwhile, Decision No. 500/QD-TTg on the "National Power Development Plan for the period of 2021 – 2030, with a vision to 2050 (PDP8) was released on May 15, 2023, after more than two years and revisions to numerous drafts. The decision includes provisions for the expansion of transmission networks 220kV and above voltage level, regulations for the development of renewable energy and new energy production and services, and the interconnection with neighboring country power grids.
2. Vietnam’s GDP growth is higher than electricity consumption growth for the second consecutive year
Vietnam's economy expanded 5.05% in last year, higher than the electricity consumption growth of 4.08%. This is the second consecutive year that this has happened. In the past, Vietnam's Elasticity Ratio of Electricity Consumption (growth rate of electricity consumption/GDP growth rate) remained notably high, around 1.8 before 2015, decreasing to 1.4 between 2016 and 2020. Since two years ago, it has dropped below 1, lately declining to 0.81 last year, a considerable advance compared to the estimated year 2030 as outlined in PDP8. Typically indicates that energy elasticity in developing countries is greater than 1, while that in developed countries is less than 1.
Experts from Vietnam Energy Magazine attribute that the reasons include the rapid improvement of energy utilization and the shift of economic structure to low fuel consumption, but the most likely is manufacturing productivity growth faces major difficulties.
3. Completion of the Thai Binh 2 Thermal Power Plant
The Thai Binh 2 Thermal Power Plant invested by the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) at nearly 2 billion USD, was completed and came into operation on April 27, 2023. The construction of this power plant was suspended many times due to administrative procedures and financial management issues. Fortunately, PVN's determination and adaptive management completed the project without any additional capital. With a total installed capacity of 1,200 MW, the plant stands as one of the largest power plants in the Northern Delta region of Vietnam, effectively alleviating severe power shortages in the northern area.
Thai Binh 2 Thermal Power Plant. (Photo: thaibinh.gov.vn)
4. The first shipment of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) was imported to Thi Vai Port, signaling the official launch of the Thi Vai LNG Terminal (Phase 1)
The Thi Vai LNG Terminal was invested by PV GAS, a subsidiary of PVN, the first phase was operating on October 29, 2023. It is the first LNG storage infrastructure in Vietnam’s energy transformation roadmap. The first phase comprises a port capable of receiving LNG vessels up to 100,000 tons and storage tanks with a capacity of 180,000 cubic meters, and an annual average storage capacity of 1 million tons. PV GAS plans to process the second phase in 2027 to increase the storage capacity up to 3 million tons.
5. The Block B – O Mon gas-to-power value chain project rolled out
On October 30, 2023, after nearly 20 years of delay, PVN and its partners finally signed a contract in Hanoi, initiating the B Block - O Mon natural gas power project. The project anticipates an annual production capacity of 5.06 billion cubic meters and will provide fuel for 4 power plants at the O Mon Power Complex in Can Tho City. With a capacity of 3,800MW, this power plant can meet the socio-economic development needs of the Mekong Delta region in Southern Vietnam.
6. Implementation of circuit 3 in 500kV transmission line project
The circuit 3 (from Nam Dinh 1 Thermal Power Plant to Binh Thuan transformer station) of the 500kV transmission line project, was approved by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 24, 2023, and started to be constructed immediately. The total length of this section is 74.4 km, passing through Ninh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, and Binh Thuan provinces. It is one of the 5 sections of the circuit 3 in 500kV transmission line project.
Then, by the end of November 2023, the Prime Minister also approved the investment for 2 additional sections: from Quang Trach District (Quang Binh Province) to Quynh Nhu District (Nghe An Province), and from Quynh Nhu District to Binh Thuan Province. Due to the delayed progress in the construction of numerous major power plants in northern Vietnam, which caused the failure to supply electricity to North Vietnam in time, this power grid is expected to be completed by 2025 and reinforce the transmission of electricity from central to northern regions, preventing the recurrence of power shortages in the north.
7. The coal industry has inaugurated a 1,320-meter depth drilling machine, setting a new record for the longest drilling rig in Vietnam and came into operation
In 2023, Vietnam's Coal and Minerals Industry Group (TKV) officially launched the MK1227 drilling machine, capable of drilling to a depth of 1,320 meters, setting a record for the longest drilling rig in Vietnam’s coal industry.
Additionally, TKV and the Northeastern Coal Company (under Vietnam's Ministry of National Defense), preliminarily estimated annual coal mining volume is 43.5 million tons, coal consumption reaching 58.9 million tons. The total coal supplied for TKV's power generation amounts to 40.1 million tons, accounting for a 15% increase from 2022 and contributing approximately 20.9 trillion VND (approximately 8.7 billion USD) to the revenue of Quang Ninh Province.
8. Vietnam's largest and the world's second-largest waste-to-energy plant started operation
The Soc Son waste-to-energy plant is part of the Nam Son Waste Treatment Complex, located in Nam Son Commune, Soc Son District, Hanoi City. It covers an area of 17.5 hectares and has 5 incinerators. It can handle 5,000 tons of solid waste per day, approximately two-thirds of Hanoi's total daily solid waste. With a total power generation of 90MW, it is currently the second largest waste-to-energy plant in the world, second only to Dubai's 185 MW facility.
Construction of the plant began in August 2019, with a total investment exceeding 7 trillion VND (approximately 290 million USD). It utilizes incineration furnace technology from Belgium-based Waterleau company, and surplus electricity generated beyond the plant's consumption is supplied to the national grid.
9. Ho Chi Minh City Power Corporation (EVN HCMC) ranks Top 50 of the world and second in Southeast Asia for power smart grid
Singapore Power Group (SP Group) released the Smart Grid Index (SGI) in February 2023. With a score of 71.4 points, EVN HCMC and Western Power (Australia), Duke Energy (U.S.), Toronto Hydro (Canada), and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB - Malaysia) ranked 47th among 94 power companies. Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, was placed second, behind SP Group only.
The implementation of a smart grid by EVN HCMC has notably improved power reliability. The System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) drastically reduced from 25.04 times in 2011 to 0.47 times in 2022. Similarly, the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) decreased significantly from 3,433 minutes in 2011 to 35 minutes in 2022, reaching the standards observed in advanced countries or modern cities in Europe and America. Furthermore, the implementation of the smart grid helped EVN HCMC reduce electrical losses by 2.93% in 2022, comparable to advanced countries in the world.
10. Vietnam Machinery Installation Corporation (Lilama) has delivered first batch of electrolyzer modules to Saudi Arabia's world's largest green hydrogen project
On December 5, 2023, Lilama exported the first batch of four sets of electrolyzer modules to Neom, the world's largest green hydrogen project in Saudi Arabia. The project will produce a total of 110 sets of electrolysis modules, with total investment for this collaboration exceeding 8 billion USD.
Lilama's manufacturing and assembly facility for green hydrogen modules is situated in the Thuy Nguyen District, Hai Phong City. Each electrolyzer module measures 55 meters in length, 5 meters in width, and 8 meters in height, with a weight of around 200 metric tons. These modules consume approximately 20 MW of renewable energy and produce about 6 tons of green hydrogen daily. Although the scale of the project is not too large, but this showcases Vietnam's green energy position in the global supply chain.
In addition, the Vietnamese government has accelerated its energy transition efforts by establishing the "Just Energy Transition Partnership" (JETP), forming a guiding committee, and releasing the "Resource Mobilization Plan" (RMP). They also have revised several regulations such as the Electricity Law and laws related to energy efficiency. Moreover, they've adopted more flexible approaches to manage and adjust oil and electricity prices to align with market mechanisms.