Vietnam Considers Wind Energy

Work is going on 42 wind farm projects in 12 central, Central Highlands, and southern provinces with participation by investors from Germany, Canada, Switzerland and Argentina, but at a very slow pace. "The high investment required for wind turbines means electricity prices are double that of other sources," Viet Nam Economic Times quoted Pham Manh Thang, head of the Energy Department, as saying.

"That is why wind energy is developing slowly." It is now sold by producers at VND1,300 per kilowatt-hour compared to VND450–700 from other sources. Besides, there is no master plan or incentives at either the central or local level to develop wind power, while awareness of its advantages is low.

To encourage generation of wind energy, the Government has issued a decision taking effect next month that waives import tax on all materials and equipment required for it. Wind farm projects will also benefit from exemption and reduction of land-use charges.

Wind turbines projects that link up with the national power grid will also get price subsidies, with electricity companies paying VND1,614/kWh. The Government will pay buyers 1 cent per kWh through the Viet Nam Environmental Protection Fund.

The support will be gradually reduced and finally stopped when wind-energy prices drop to the same levels as those of hydro and thermal power. The decision augurs well for the industry, experts believed, but also warned that the investments required for generating wind power should be worked out carefully to avoid pressure on electricity prices.