Renewable Energy Exploitation Still Modest

Wednesday,  August 22,2012,00:19 (GMT+7)
By Van Nam – The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC – The country so far has exploited  a mere 800 MW of electricity from renewable energy of biomass power, solar power, wind power, biogas, garbage and small hydropower plants, said Nguyen Anh Tuan, deputy director of the Vietnam Institute of Energy.

According to Tuan, Vietnam has great potential of new energy sources of up to dozens of thousands of MW, mainly wind power, but the total output of these renewable energy sources now reaches some 800 MW only. The country also has potential to exploit up to 200 MW of sea energy and about 340 MW of geothermal energy but the two energy sources have yet to be exploited, Tuan told a seminar in HCMC last week.

“A recent survey unveils Vietnam has 20 areas rich in geothermal energy such as Binh Dinh, Quang Binh and Quang Ngai, with each area having about 20-30 MW. These localities have attracted many foreign investors to come for surveys but they all left after finding it difficult to promptly recover investment capital with the output of less than 100 MW there,” Tuan said.

Similarly, garbage-to-power sources have total potential of 320 MW but only 2.4 MW has been exploited. Hanoi is carrying out a garbage-to-power project with total output of 6 MW and Dong Nai Province is also seeking approval for a garbage-to-power plan with designed output of 28 MW, he noted.

It is forecast local demand for energy in the next eight years will be twice higher than the present level.

Other energy sources like coal, oil and gas is becoming increasingly exhausted while power volumes produced at home will only meet 45% of demand by 2030, with the remainder imported. Vietnam thus is making efforts to increase renewable energy sources to satisfy 5% of total electricity demand in 2020.

Tuan attributed the slow energy exploitation to weak financial supports for renewable energy development and the absence of detailed plans to develop the sources in the country.

In particular, only wind power prices are subsidized while prices of other energy sources are still subject to market forces.

The Government is considering the strategy and master plan to develop renewable energy and biomass energy by 2020 and vision towards 2030 submitted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. As such, a number of energy sources with the biggest potential volumes will be developed, including biogas, wind power, biomass energy, solar power, urban waste and small hydropower plants.

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