Renewable Energy in Manufacturing
by Rachel Posner Ross and Evan Scandling
At a time when Vietnam’s electricity demand is surging in response to commercial, industrial, and population growth, a common concern has emerged that rising economic activity will shift carbon emissions from China and other manufacturing hubs to Vietnam. However, our experience through the Clean Energy Investment Accelerator (CEIA) initiative in Vietnam indicates that private-sector demand for renewables has the potential to overcome policy barriers and catalyze significant scaling up of clean energy deployment in emerging markets. Vietnam’s 2019-2020 rooftop solar boom and anticipated surge in wind and solar virtual power purchase agreements for corporate offtakers in 2020 and beyond are the results of public-private collaboration on issues that simultaneously advance government and private-sector interests, offering important lessons for other markets in pursuit of sustainable development.
Vietnam is a developing economy with a population of nearly 100 million and annual GDP growth of 6 to 7 percent, making it one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, which has been true for decades. Foreign direct investment (FDI) was close to $18 billion in 2018, which accounted for approximately 24 percent of total investment in the economy.1 More than 10,000 foreign companies are estimated to operate or have supply chain manufacturing in Vietnam, including many of the world’s largest companies from a variety of sectors.2 For decades, Vietnam has been home to labor-intensive industries such as apparel and footwear production. Many of the world’s
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