Vietnam calls for more renewable energy

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung called for more renewable energy projects as a response to climate change, but provided no concrete plans, local press reported Tuesday. Dung pushed for more investment in solar and wind power in a meeting with government agencies implementing a national target programme to respond to climate change, the newspaper Thanh Nien reported.

Official targets call for Vietnam to generate 3 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015 and 5 per cent by 2020. Current renewable energy capacity is far below those levels, and few new projects are on the horizon.

Vietnam has "great potential for wind power," said Nguyen Duc Cuong, who directs the renewable energy effort at the state-owned monopoly power company.

"But so far only one project of five (wind turbine) towers, with a total capacity of 7.5 megawatts, has been set up. And there is no promise of further action under discussion," he said.

Electricity demand is growing by more 16 per cent per year. The government expects to meet new demand by quadrupling its coal-fired electricity generating capacity by 2015.

One recent paper estimated carbon dioxide emissions in Vietnam would rise 14 per cent per year until 2030.

"We are arguing seriously, what should Vietnam do?" said Nguyen Van Duc, deputy minister of natural resources and environment.

Duc said the national climate change response would begin setting up its projects in detail in 2011, and would not begin implementing them until 2015.

Monday’s meeting also reviewed a report on the expected effects of climate change in Vietnam published in August by government experts. The scenario predicts a sea level rise of 75 centimetres by 2100, which would flood 19 per cent of the Mekong River delta and 18 per cent of the Red River delta, Vietnam’s main rice growing areas.

Vietnam is among the developing countries expected to be most affected by climate change, according to the World Bank.

A wind power plant will be built in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat to help meet Vietnam’s ever-growing demand for electricity, the Lam Dong Province People’s Committee announced.

Lam Dong Provincial authorities have given permission to Cavico Transportation, a subsidiary of Vietnamese infrastructure development company Cavico Corp., to begin building a wind farm in Da Lat City’s Xuan Truong Commune in 2010.

Vietnam’s second wind farm, estimated to cost US$57 million, is expected to produce 90 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

“This is the first wind farm project in the central western region of Vietnam," Cavico Executive Director Hung Manh Tran said. "This environmentally-friendly project will help solve the nation’s electricity shortage problem.”

Vietnam’s first wind farm is a $20 million plant on Con Dao Island in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Built by Switzerland’s Aerogie Group, it is expected to become operational in 2010.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates demand for electricity in Vietnam’s is growing by 16 percent each year.

The wind farm, located in an area of 1,500 hectares in Tuy Phong District, Binh Thuan Province, will connect to the national power grid with an initial capacity of 7.5 megawatts (MW) a day by the end of June, the province’s Department of Trade and Industry announced.

Vietnam Renewable Energy, the project investor, has finished building the first wind turbine and has stepped up installation of the next four, said its deputy director, Dinh Duy Hiep.

The first stage of the wind power project, at a cost of VND996 billion (US$54.3 million), is to be completed by the end of this year and have a capacity of 30 MW a day with 20 wind turbines.

The capacity will eventually rise to 120 MW with 80 turbines.

Private firm weighs wind energy plant for Con Dao

The domestic trading and real estate company Sy Cat has submitted a plan to Ba Ria-Vung Tau province’s authorities to build a wind energy plant worth some US$26 million on Con Dao island off the southern coastal province, in line with the province’s plan to turn Con Dao into an eco-tourism island.

Therefore, the department has sent a statement to the provincial government requesting approval for the wind energy plant on the island, 180km offshore Vung Tau City.

Under the investor’s plan, the wind energy plant will be built on 45 hectares encompassing Nhat beach and Da Trang beach.

Development in the first phase will take three years, and the plant will have a designed generation capacity of 10MW. When the demand rises and upon approval from authorities, the investor will build more facilities to double the generation capacity to some 20MW.

The private investor estimates the cost at VND445 billion, or US$26 million, and it seeks to operate the wind energy plant in 30 years.

The power will be sold to the island district at a price of 16.5 US cents a kilowatt in the first 10 years of operation, down to 15.7 cents for the next 15 years and 13.2 cents from the 25th year.

The project, if licensed, will be the second wind power plant on the island. Last year, Vietnam, a subsidiary of Swiss energy firm Solutions AG, received a license to develop the first wind power station in Con Dao, touted as a solution to protect the environment, reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and promote eco-tourism.

Hoang Nghia Doan, party secretary of Con Dao Island, had told the Daily on an occasion that wind power projects, including wind towers, should be designed in harmony with the natural landscape and contribute to the preservation of the environment and historic venues on the island.

The island district has only four diesel-fueled generators with a combined capacity of 3MW, which is far behind demand of electricity for daily activities of islanders and fish processing facilities.

As the cost for running diesel-fuelled generators is high, the annual budget used to offset losses from such operations amounts to some VND10 billion.

Con Dao Island is in fact an archipelago of 16 small islets with a total area of more than 7,670 hectares, and is some 45 minutes’ flight from HCMC. Con Lon is the largest island where there are currently four hotels and resorts.

The island is considered as one of the most attractive destinations in Vietnam owing to its long and tranquil beaches, good natural landscapes and historical relics.

Con Dao will have 50,000 residents by 2020, up 10 times compared to the current population, while the number of travelers to the islands is expected to reach 500,000 to 700,000 per year by then.

Cavico Gets Approval to Build Wind Farm in Vietnam

Cavico Corp., an infrastructure development company in Vietnam, today that Cavico Transportation, its wholly owned subsidiary, has officially received permission from Lam Dong province’s People Committee of the location to build a wind farm in this province.

In October of 2008 Cavico received approval from the officials of Lam Dong province to study and evaluate different areas in the province for possible wind farms. The province will use the results of these studies as part of its windpower planning.

For its contribution to the studies, Cavico is given a priority to invest and participate in windpower projects in the province according to its financial capability. For a few years Cavico’s management team has researched and identified a few potential sites for wind farm development along the country. And it has been found that the coastal areas of southern and south-central Vietnam, where the proposed site is located, show exceptional promise for wind energy.

In this first phase, Cavico is studying the construction of a 30 megawatt (MW) wind farm, which will connect to the national grid upon completion. The feasibility study at the site is expected to be completed over a period of one year and will involve collection of wind data and detailed analysis to determine the scope and size of the wind turbines. Prior to the completion of the study, Cavico plans to begin construction of connecting roads and other site preparations.