Vietnam’s wind power industry lacks momentum

Despite the Vietnamese government’s push to develop wind power, the country currently has only three plants that use this alternative source of energy, as it lacks experts in the field and power prices remain low, said experts.

The current wind power buying price set by the government of 7. 8 U.S. cents, which includes 1 cent subsidized by the government, is the lowest all over the world, said Bui Van Thinh, vice chairman of central Binh Thuan province’s Wind Energy Association, at a workshop on wind power development held here recently.

According to the province official, the low prices paid by Electricity of Vietnam, the sole buyer of power from generators in the country, is the biggest challenge for the industry, in addition to high production costs, lack of financial resources, a shortage of skilled engineers and an underdeveloped support industry.

With a long coastline, Vietnam has an overwhelming advantage for the development of wind power compared with other countries in Southeast Asia. To meet its economic development, the country is in dire need of more energy sources as it seeks to depend less on fossil fuels. In addition, there are fewer sites for new hydropower plants.



In a national power development master plan to 2020, Vietnam has set a target to raise the ratio of renewable energy to total national power capacity to 5.6 percent from the current 2.5 percent-3 percent, including 1,000 MW from wind power. It also has set a target to generate about 6,200 MWh of wind power by 2030. Policies on price subsidies, taxes and lending incentives for wind power projects have been created, but some investors remain skeptical.



According to Dr. Pushkala Lakshmi Ratan, regional vice president of renewable energy and industry services for TUV SUD Asia Pacific, global prices for renewable energy are almost always higher than conventional power because the starting capital for wind farms is expensive, and the governments of many countries have provided incentives to encourage the development of this kind of green energy, local Vietnam News daily reported Friday.



Sathish Kumar Somuraj, general director of TUV SUD Vietnam, said that many governments around the world are reducing carbon emissions by turning to wind power as a key component of their clean energy mix, and Vietnam is doing the same.



TUV SUD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Binh Thuan Wind Energy Association under which it will offer technical support for the association and its members’ wind power projects in Vietnam.



The objectives of this partnership are to develop Vietnam’s nascent wind power industry and further reduce the country’s dependency on conventional energy sources.

Binh Thuan province, about 1,150 km south of capital Hanoi and being the national wind power leader, has set a target to generate about 700 MWh of wind power by 2020, and 2,500 MWh by 2030. Companies have registered to invest in 15 wind power projects, with a total capacity of 1,182 MW, in the province.