Vietnam Aims to Boost Non-Hydro Renewables, Avert Climate Impacts That Would ‘Destroy 30 Million Livelihoods’
With hydroelectric resources maxed out and coal reserves in decline, Vietnam is seeking to mobilize its significant wind and solar potential—and the requisite investment of roughly US$8 billion.
A recent report by analytics firm GlobalData “predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.4% for currently untapped non-hydropower renewables,” such that wind and solar “will hit 19.9 GW by 2030,” writes Smart Energy International.
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While non-hydro-renewables together accounted for 2.1% of Vietnam’s electricity mix in 2018, the Global Data report projects that wind, solar, and biomass will together contribute 7% of the country’s power needs by 2020 and 10% by 2030. But despite rich renewable energy potential, the country lacks capital, and is struggling to mobilize the massive investment required.
“Low electricity prices, limited funding, slow pace of major power projects, and lack of private sector interest, including that of foreign investors, are some of the other challenges facing Vietnam’s power sector,” industry analyst Anchal Agarwal told SEI.
In a separate open letter to the Dan Tri International news site, the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, Nick Bridge, pointed to Vietnam’s vulnerability to climate impacts, noting that average global warming of 2.0°C “would flood 40% of the Mekong Delta and destroy 30 million livelihoods.” Citing the UK Parliament’s own recent declaration of an environmental and climate emergency, Bridge pledged to use an upcoming trip to Hanoi to discuss “how the UK’s expertise and support can encourage Vietnam’s clean energy investment, such as advice on enabling high-quality, bankable power purchase agreements, good market regulation to support innovation, and more access for the private sector to blended finance products.”
Bridge said the UK is already helping to finance a 168-MW solar power plant in Ninh Thuan, and committed to help Vietnam gain access to green finance.