Seminar discusses sustainable energy development in Vietnam

Thursday, 2017-08-24 10:37:16
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In 2017, Vietnam imports 10 million tonnes of coal for domestic consumption and it is estimated that coal imports will reach 100 million tonnes by 2030.
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NDO – Vietnam's current energy situation poses four challenges for sustainable energy system, including the provision of reliable energy, reasonable energy prices, environmental protection and efficient use of resources, all mentioned by a Hanoi workshop on August 24.

Experts and policy makers gathered at the seminar held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), the German Embassy in Vietnam and Siemens group to discuss sustainable energy development towards a low emissions economy in Vietnam.

Delegates at the event indicated that Vietnam's energy picture poses the above-mentioned challenges for sustainable energy, amidst the fact that its economy is growing rapidly with increased demand for energy.

Besides constantly promoting internal resources, Vietnam is resolving its energy challenges with cooperation and support from the international community, especially from advanced technology development partners in the energy sector.

Reports by the MOIT at the conference displayed that Vietnam’s energy demand has increased rapidly over the last 15 years, with a commercial energy growth rate of about 9.5% each year, while electricity consumption demand grew about 13% annually during 2006-2010 and 11% each year between 2011 and 2016.

In 2015, total energy consumed nationwide was estimated at 55 million tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) and the figure is expected to increase to 100-110 million TOE by 2020.

Under the national energy development strategy until 2020 with a vision to 2050, Vietnam aims to produce and import 100-110 million TOE of primary energy by 2020 and 310-320 million TOE by 2050 to meet its socio-economic development demand.

The country plans to import around 17 million tonnes of coal, or 31% of the coal needed for electric generation, in 2020.

MOIT Deputy Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong speaks at the conference. (Credit: vietnamplus.vn)

According to MOIT Deputy Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong, with increased demand for energy, Vietnam is now transforming from an energy exporter to an energy importer. For example, in 2017, Vietnam had to import 10 million tonnes of coal for domestic consumption and it is estimated that coal imports will reach 100 million tonnes by 2030.

Besides coal, Vietnam would also have to import liquefied petroleum gas and electricity from its neighbours, Vuong added.

Meanwhile, by using energy efficiently and taking advantage of abundant renewable energy sources, Vietnam could reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and imported coals, while also ensuring stable electricity prices in decades to come.

President cum CEO of Siemens ASEAN, Armin Bruck, suggested that in order to ensure reliable energy supply and optimise the efficient use of energy resources, Vietnam should maximise to the highest energy efficiency, including renewable energy, smart grid and changing from centralised electric model to power distribution model, in its roadmap to put Vietnam towards an industrialised country and achieve sustainable development goals.

Wolfgang Manig, Chargé d’ affaires of the Germany Embassy in Vietnam, proposed to pay attention to the current electricity price policy. According to him, reasonable adjustment of electricity prices would be an important motive to attract investment as well as develop new power sources to serve the increasing demand for energy in the future.

He also stated that there should be no confusion between reasonable and cheap price due to the fact that electricity prices should be enough to support the development of renewable energy and encourage energy saving.

Germany has assisted Vietnam in sustainable energy promotion and efficient energy use through bilateral cooperation programmes and the private sector’s engagement, Wolfgang Manig stated, adding that his country is willing to share experience in energy conversion with Vietnam.