Wind, solar power sees new boom
Many wind and solar power projects are awaiting approval to be added to the list of projects to be developed under the national power development plan.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) is now collecting opinions for the draft report on Strategic Environmental Assessment of the National Energy Master Plan in 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050.
The draft report says there will be big changes in Vietnam’s electricity generation structure: the proportion of coal-fired power sources will be gradually decreasing, while gas-fired and renewable power will be increasing. The proportion of hydraulic power will also decrease as nearly all potential has been exploited.
It is expected that renewable power, including large-scale hydropower (LHP), will account for 49 percent of total electricity sources by 2020, 48 percent by 2030 and 53 percent by 2045.
Investors to develop nearshore wind power
The total onshore wind power potential is high, but it is mostly low-wind potential (4.5-5.5 meters per second) and medium (5.5-6 meters per second), while high-wind (over 6 meters per second) is small.
The total capacity of onshore wind power sources is still not high, about 500 MW. Thanks to preferential pricing, many projects will become operational prior to November 2021 with total capacity of 5GW.
The total offshore wind power potential is about 160 GW. Many investors have registered to develop projects in the southern part of the central region with the total capacity of 15GW.
Of these, the 3.4 GW Thang Long Offshore Wind Power in Ke Ga, Binh Thuan province received the Prime Minister’s nod for research and survey. The great potential of offshore wind power is in the southern part of the central region.
Tens of gigwatts of solar power awaiting approval
According to the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the total electricity capacity is over 60GW.
|The total offshore wind power potential is about 160 GW. Many investors have registered to develop projects in the southern part of the central region with the total capacity of 15GW.|
The southern region has great potential for solar power development with an average radiation intensity of 1,705-1,910 kwh per square meter per annum, far higher than the northern region with just 1,200 kwh per square meter per annum.
With the preferential pricing mechanism, solar power has seen a boom in Vietnam in recent years. In 2019 alone, the total capacity of grid-connected solar power put into operation was 5GW. Most of the solar power projects were in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces (more than 2GW).
Some projects have been added to the national power development plan with total capacity of over 10GW, of which 8GW would be put into operation prior to 2020 and 2GW after 2020.
In addition, there has been another 25GW registered by investors, but have not been added to the national power development plan (12.3GW is expected to become operational prior to 2020 and 12.9GW after 2020).
The total technical potential of solar power us very high, about 1,646GW, but the total potential that can be developed is just 386GW, mostly located in the south, the southern part of the central region and Central Highlands.
Regarding rooftop solar power, the total potential is 48GW, including 22GW in the south. According to MOIT, the investment rate of rooftop power is lower (12 percent) than solar power built on the ground because there is no cost for land use and grid connection, but the maintenance cost is 1.6 percent higher than large-scale solar power. The number of hours for electricity generation at maximum capacity is 10 percent lower.
In 2017, the Government issued the first feed-in tariff (FIT) mechanism with the purchase price of solar power for all types of 9.35 cents per kWh, applied until June 30, 2019.
In June 2020, the Government moved to a FIT2 tariff of 7.09- 8.38 cents per kWh for solar power. On December 31, 2020, the decision expired.
Other types of renewable power
The total potential of biomass electricity is relatively high, 13.7GW equivalent, with the biggest potential in the southern region.
However, as it is difficult to collect biomass to develop biomass power plants, the total capacity of biomass power which can be developed is just 5-6GW.
Currently, there are about 378MW of bagasse electricity in operation, about 100 MW of rice husk power, and about 70 MW of wood power under the investment preparation stage.
There is also 10MW of electricity from waste-to-electricity plants, a very small figure of noting that the waste is enough to generate 1,500MW of electricity, including 1,000MW in the south.
Nguyen Duc Ninh, Director of the National Power Regulation Centre, has said Vietnam will cut its renewable electricity capacity due to oversupply.
At present, the cost of solar power panels has cooled down, so shortly, the MoIT would suggest the purchasing price of solar power without using feed-in tariffs (FITs).