A European Union business representative said that Vietnam may not have a legal framework to regulate offshore wind farms until next year, potentially deferring billions of dollars in foreign investment in the sector.
According to the World Bank Group, Vietnam has significant offshore wind power potential due to strong winds and shallow waters near densely inhabited coastal areas, and the sector could add at least $50 billion to the country's economy.
Under the Southeast Asian country’s most recent draft power development plan from December, Vietnam targets offshore wind generation of 7 GW by 2030, up from zero output now.
Its approval has been repeatedly deferred. It may now be postponed further, according to Minh Nguyen, vice president of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, who spoke at a conference on Thursday.
Large investments in wind farms, including much of the $15.5 billion offered by G7 countries in December for green energy transition projects, are reliant on its adoption.
Minh stated that development was dependent on new regulations on the use of marine area for military, shipping, or other purposes, which was not expected until October, citing negotiations between Vietnamese authorities and EU companies earlier this week.
That is despite EU companies' pressure for swift regulatory progress, according to public recommendations and an internal document about this week's meetings.
Several diplomats and academics stated that Vietnam is also interested in scrutinizing Chinese participation in the industry for national security grounds, concerning that windfarms could be used for spying.
Investors in Vietnam, where bureaucratic and legislative delays are usual, would not be surprised by a delay.
Some are optimistic, believing that pilot projects would be granted swiftly, even before law is passed, while others believe that given Vietnam's location and strength as a regional manufacturing powerhouse, wind turbine manufacturers will not review their investment plans.