Large-scale solar energy uptake is growing in Vietnam, but barriers persist to a thriving market for corporate renewable energy. How can Vietnam move faster to fulfill its clean energy ambitions?
But will commercial and industrial energy users – which account for 55-60 per cent of Vietnam’s electricity consumption and are increasingly demanding large supplies of clean energy – find a conducive market in Vietnam to fulfill their ambitious renewable energy goals?
Vietnam is already home to many multinational companies that are committed to “100 per cent renewables”, or have established science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, AEON, the Japanese shopping mall developer, and Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewery, have sizable presences in Vietnam and are both committed to “100 per cent renewables” through the RE100 programme. Samsung Electronics, which has more than $17 billion invested in Vietnam and accounted for nearly one-quarter of the country’s total exports in 2017, already has a 100 per cent renewable energy commitment for all of its facilities in the US, China and Europe by next year—and is actively seeking clean energy procurement options in its other manufacturing hubs like Vietnam.
It is important to note that these goals are not only for the Fortune 500 companies making commitments, but also apply to their supply chain partners. This means that a wide range of companies in Vietnam – large and small, domestic and foreign – are seeking increased and improved clean energy purchasing options.
Quite simply, for many of the world’s largest companies and their supply chains, shifting to clean energy is no longer an optional act of corporate social responsibility or goodwill. It’s an imperative that shareholders, customers, and the wider public are holding them accountable to.
Vietnam has signaled its desire to continue improving its attractiveness to world-class companies, particularly as the country positions itself for “Industry 4.0” and adapts toward a hi-tech focused foreign direct investment strategy.
For corporate energy users in Vietnam to have a realistic chance of meeting their clean energy goals, not only will gigawatt-hours upon gigawatt-hours of new renewables-based electricity need to be generated every year, but a robust toolkit of clean energy procurement choices will need to be made available.
Fortunately, Vietnam is making meaningful strides to develop into an attractive clean energy destination for large energy users. The country’s rooftop solar PV market has surged in recent months, growing from approximately 10 MW to 30 MW of total installed capacity, and industry stakeholders expect another 30-50 MW could go online before the current FIT program concludes on 30 June. This is just the beginning for rooftop solar: a draft regulation for the next wave of rooftop solar incentives and guidelines into 2021 is currently under review by the Ministry of Industry and Trade; the final version is expected to be announced in the next 1-2 months.