One step forward, two steps back: Vietnam’s short-sighted energy vision

By Nguyen Dang Anh Thi   April 1, 2021 | 07:50 am GMT+7 vnexpress

Vietnam needs to learn the right lessons from Germany’s experience – going from protests against renewable energy to becoming one of the top five nations in clean power.

Nguyen Dang Anh Thi
Nguyen Dang Anh Thi

I choose to talk about Germany because most of the feed-in-tariff policies for Vietnam’s renewable energy have been designed using the German model and built with consultation from the Deutshe Gesellschaftür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) or German Corporation for International Cooperation, an agency that provides services in the field of international development cooperation.

30 years ago, Germany issued the FIT policy for the first time to boost the selling of renewable electricity to the national grid. In the beginning, when the proportion of wind and solar power output made up just less than 0.1 percent of the nation’s total, there were already worries about renewable energy threatening safety and stability of the national power grid.

Back then, a group of power companies in Germany had released a joint statement creating pressure on the government, saying that renewable energy from solar, wind and hydropower plants should not exceed 4 percent of the total power output, even in the long run.

For decades, many entities in Germany had advocated thermal and nuclear power, and kept calling for delays in expanding the national power grid and delivering cautions on clean energy.

But the people of Germany had said yes big time to clean energy. Their voice, luckily, had been heard, and the government had listened to them with a long-time view, adopting consistent policies with transparency and integrity.

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From Zero to hero, the various case of Vietnam’s renewable energy

On the boil

*On the boil newsletter co-founded by 2 girls with a dream to see Vietnam become a leader in the fight against climate change.  The newsletter delivers the information in a digestible format,

  • Global climate change and sustainability news? 
  • Updates on the environment and sustainability projects in Vietnam?
  • Inspiring stories of climate leaders and their projects?

From Zero to hero, the various case of Vietnam’s renewable energy

In January, a humble “S-shaped” country in South East Asia became the talk of the town. Having been “chasing the sun”, Vietnam saw a boom in rooftop solar installations at the end of 2020. It beat all forecasts, even that of Bloomberg, who made an entire podcast episode featuring Vietnam’s race to green energy.

Before we get to the real meat of what happened, let us first take a step back to look at the whole relationship between energy and climate, and why moving to green energy matters.

  • All living things on the planet contain carbon [insert Sir. David Attenborough‘s voiceover here]. When organisms died hundreds of millions of years ago, their remains got buried deep under layers of sediment and rock. Under high heat and pressure, they were slow-cooked into carbon-rich deposits we now call fossil fuels, i.e. coal, oil and natural gas.
  • Fast forward to the 18th century. The Industrial Revolution unlocked the huge potential of fossil fuels as an abundant source of energy. Since then, fossil fuels have rapidly established themselves as the major source of power, supplying about 84% of global energy in 2019.
  • Now back to Chemistry 101: when we burn fossil fuels for energy, the carbon atoms (C) that have been stored away for millennia meet with oxygen (O), releasing an enormous amount of CO2. Unsurprisingly, 81% of total CO2 emissions from 1959 to 2019 comes from burning oil, coal, and natural gas. This is bad news for our friend Earth, as CO2 is a long-lived greenhouse gas capable of trapping heat from sunlight, causing global warming.
  • The answer is no…if 1) we move away from fossil fuels and into low-carbon, renewable energy (RE) and 2) we reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. In this issue, we’ll zoom in on the first solution.
  • From 1965 to 2019, the share of renewables (e.g. solar, wind, hydropower) in the energy mix almost doubled from 6% to 11%. This seems…puny compared to that of fossil fuels. On the bright side, the recent net-zero emission targets set by the world’s major economies as well as big corporates in an effort to slow climate change are expected to accelerate renewables’ growth.
  • Vietnam is also encouraging a shift from fossil fuel to renewables, in order to meet its CO2 emission mitigation target.

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Ministry explains cuts to capacity of renewable power plants

Vietnamnet 16/03/2021    09:05 GMT+7

Low power demand coupled with oversupply of electricity at times have forced authorities to cut the capacity of renewable energy plants in order to avoid overwhelming the national grid, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Ministry explains cuts to capacity of renewable power plants hinh anh 1
Low power demand coupled with oversupply of electricity at times have forced authorities to cut the capacity of renewable energy plants. (Photo: VNA)

A large amount of investments from social resources has been poured into developing renewable energy, particularly solar energy, over previous years in Vietnam, according to the ministry.

However, a boom in high-capacity renewable energy projects, mainly in central and southern Vietnam, has overloaded inter-regional transmission lines and caused oversupply at times, the ministry said in Document No 1226/BCT-DTDL sent to the National Assembly’s committees for Science, Technology and Environment, and Economic Affairs and the Office of the Government explaining its stance on the power capacity cut.

Additionally, domestic demand for power has fallen below normal levels due to the impact of COVID-19, which led to an oversupply of electricity during off-peak times such as holidays, weekends, and at noon, the ministry said.

According to the ministry, this is a very dangerous situation that adversely affects the safe operation of the national grid. Though the National Load Dispatch Centre (A0) has reduced the output of traditional energy to the minimum, the oversupply remains, so the centre had to make another cut to renewable energy capacity to prevent the electricity system from collapsing.

The ministry has ordered Vietnam Electricity (EVN) and A0 to calculate the required reduction of capacity at all renewable power plants in a transparent and fair manner, regardless of who their investors are.

The ministry added that it has received government approval onthe supplement of various power transmission line projects into planning while urging EVN to fast-track the progress of existing projects to raise the capacity of the national electricity network./. VNA

Renewable energy to become a trend

According to experts, the dominant energy technology in the future will be energy storage devices, solar ….

IEEFA: Renewables should be focus of Vietnam’s Draft PDP8, not coal and gas

Read the Vietnamese translated report here.

Evidence was clear to inform the next stage of Vietnam’s power development

IEEFA

11 March (IEEFA Vietnam): Vietnam’s recently published draft power development plan for 2021-2030 (PDP8) has failed to acknowledge the importance of developing a more flexible system that can accommodate a changing technology mix, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

“After a decade filled with disappointments from the fossil fuel industry, planners successfully tested the dynamism of renewable energy in Vietnam’s fast-growing market,” says report author IEEFA Director of Energy Finance Studies Asia, Melissa Brown.

“Many conventional coal and gas-power projects failed to progress during the development process, only managing to meet half of the targeted capacity for 2016-2020.

“Solar power developers however over-delivered by five times, and they have done so in a fraction of the time.

“This evidence would surely inform the next stage of Vietnam’s power development.

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Băm đất nông nghiệp làm điện mặt trời

Tính đến ngày 1.1.2021 cả nước đã có 101.029 công trình điện mặt trời mái nhà. Ảnh: TL.Biến tướng trong đầu tư điện mặt trời kết hợp sản xuất nông nghiệp.

NCDT – Kim Thuỳ Thứ Sáu | 26/02/2021 14:00

Trong 3 tháng cuối năm 2020, khu vực Tây Nguyên đặc biệt là các tỉnh Đắk Lắk, Gia Lai, Đắk Nông, Bình Phước xuất hiện nhiều nhóm nhà đầu tư thuê đất của dân để làm dự án điện mặt trời áp mái và hứa hẹn người dân chỉ cần ký giấy tờ do bên họ chuẩn bị sẵn thì sẽ nhận được tiền thuê đất hằng tháng khoảng 30 triệu đồng/ha.

Nhóm đầu tư này mua gom đất nông nghiệp của các hộ dân, rồi làm thủ tục xin đấu nối với Điện lực Đắk Lắk (PC Đắk Lắk). Điều kiện để được đấu nối là phải có dự án nông nghiệp (chăn nuôi, trồng trọt), tận dụng tầng mái công trình lắp pin năng lượng. Theo quy định của Tập đoàn Điện lực Việt Nam (EVN), các công trình điện mặt trời trên 1 MWp (điện đấu lưới) phải được Bộ Công Thương phê duyệt. Vì vậy, nhóm nhà đầu tư này thành lập thêm nhiều công ty con, chia nhỏ dự án (dưới 1 MWp) nhằm lách luật. Tiếp tục đọc “Băm đất nông nghiệp làm điện mặt trời”

Better infrastructure is way to absorb surge in renewable energy production: experts

e.vnexpress.net 

By Viet Anh   January 24, 2021 | 07:56 am GMT+7

Storing renewable energy in batteries and pumped storage of water to generate power, and improving transmission capacity are keys for Vietnam to foster renewable energy, according to experts.

Nguyen Duc Ninh, director of the National Load Dispatch Center, said earlier this month Vietnam plans to reduce its renewable energy output by 1.3 billion kilowatt hours this year since it lacks transmission capacity.

Installed solar power capacity reached 19,400 MWp by the end of last year, or 25 percent of total power capacity.

Dr Hang Dao, a sustainable energy expert at the World Resources Institute (WRI), said the reason Vietnam has solar energy surplus is the country’s electric grid and infrastructure are quite weak, and so energy is not transmitted to locations where needed.

The national grid is out of date and needs to be upgraded, but it would take time to install a modern network, and while waiting for it the country could focus on short-term storage plans, said Hang.

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Renewable Energy Lab. NREL’s Updated System Advisor Model

The latest version of NREL’s popular System Advisor Model (SAM) is now available, providing more robust data and seamless integration with other NREL models to help the renewable energy industry make informed project decisions.

SAM is free, publicly available modeling software for technical performance simulation and financial analysis of renewable energy projects and includes a desktop application, software development kit, and open-source code.

Updates to the model include:

  • The addition of the latest solar resource data from NREL’s National Solar Radiation Database, including yearly and sub-hourly data and covering Europe, Africa, and Asia for the first time
  • Improved battery dispatch for both front-of-meter and behind-the-meter battery storage applications
  • Improved electricity bill calculations for distributed behind-the-meter financial models
  • Implementation of NREL’s Solar Position Algorithm for sun angle calculations of solar performance models
  • Integration of NREL’s Land-Based Balance-of-System Systems Engineering Model for improved wind power plant system cost estimation and design.

“With the recent improvements, we’re excited to continue to ensure that complex energy analysis questions can be answered quickly and easily,” said Janine Freeman, NREL lead for the SAM model.

Solar power boom poses a distribution challenge

By Dat Nguyen   January 5, 2021 | 08:31 pm GMT+7 vnexpressSolar power boom poses a distribution challengeA worker installs solar power panels in Ninh Thuan Province, central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.The increasing solar power capacity has made it difficult for national utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) to ensure stable power distribution nationwide.

The nature of solar power capacity, which accounts for 25 percent of the total, is to produce high volumes during the day and no production in the evening. This poses difficulties for EVN in operating the national grid, the national utility has said in a report.

There have been times when the grid was oversupplied during the low-demand hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when solar radiation is at peak, the report says.

On the contrary, when power demand is at the highest, the 5:30-6:30 p.m. period, solar power production falls to nearly zero and the traditional power generators have to be mobilized.

“The ratio of renewable power generation is increasing and with it comes instability in operation,” the report says.

Vietnam’s solar power capacity was roughly 16,500 megawatt by the end of last year, nearly 48 percent of it coming from rooftop panels and the rest from plants.

Solar power production reached 10.6 billion kilowatt-hours last year, accounting for 4.3 percent of total.

There was a surge in the number of solar power projects after the government offered an incentive feed-in tariff scheme to promote renewable energy production to meet rising demand in a fast-growing economy.

Fashion brand Nike and H&M to Vietnam: More renewables, please

Asia.nikkei.com

29 global fashion brands say green energy will boost No. 3 textile exporter

A wind park in Vietnam’s Bac Lieu Province.   © Reuters

HO CHI MINH CITY — Fashion brands including H&M and Nike are pressing Vietnam to move ahead with a renewable energy purchase program as companies come under increasing pressure to meet their sustainability goals, Nikkei Asia has learned.

A consortium of 29 brands sent a letter to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc this month urging the country to introduce direct power purchase agreements (DPPA) between private buyers and sellers of renewable energy. Currently, energy users can only buy electricity through the national utility or through small-scale projects such as rooftop solar panels.

International clothing brands, which rely heavily on Asian garment factories, are under pressure from shareholders and consumers to reduce emissions in their supply chains. Renewable energy in Vietnam — the world’s third-largest textile exporter — is key to those companies hitting their emission targets.

“Without the DPPA we believe renewable energy development will plateau and fall short of meeting the growing energy needs of Vietnam’s industries,” the consortium warned in the Dec. 15 letter, seen by Nikkei.
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Top 10 Priorities for President Biden to Tackle the Climate Crisis

WRI.org

Former U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are widely recognized as having won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, with a majority in the Electoral College and a resounding majority in the popular vote. The Democratic Party has retained control of the U.S. House of Representatives, while the results for the U.S. Senate are very close and the outcome is undetermined at this time. In this WRI Commentary, WRI U.S. Director Dan Lashof suggests a 10-point plan for the new administration.


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President-elect Biden will be sworn into office in the midst of four deeply intertwined crises: the health crisis, the economic crisis, the racial injustice crisis and the climate crisis. He has promised to build back better by taking bold action on all four simultaneously, including making unprecedented investments in health care, infrastructure and clean energy.
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TẠI SAO CẦN ĐẦU TƯ VÀO NĂNG LƯỢNG TÁI TẠO NGAY BÂY GIỜ?

English: 3 Reasons to Invest in Renewable Energy Now

Man installing panels

Ảnh: Roland Balik: Các nghiên cứu chỉ ra rằng các khoản đầu tư cho năng lượng tái tạo mang lại doanh thu cao và tạo ra nhiều việc làm.

Khi thảm kịch đại dịch Covid-19 của nhân loại trở nên tệ hơn, các hạn chế toàn cầu để ngăn chặn sự lây lan của vi rút bao gồm lệnh ở tại nhà, đóng cửa kinh doanh và lệnh cấm đi lại – có thể góp phần cho một cuộc suy thoái kinh tế tồi tệ nhất kể từ Đại suy thoái – The Great Depression tại Mỹ trước thế chiến thứ II. Virus đã gây ra tác động không thể quên cho ngành năng lượng: năng lượng sử dụng toàn cầu dự đoán sẽ giảm 6% trong trong năm 2020; ngành công nghiệp năng lượng tái tạo cũng không đứng ngoài cuộc

Theo như ước tính của Wood Mackenize , công suất lắp đặt toàn cầu của năng lượng mặt trời và pin tích điện năm 2020 dự kiến sẽ giảm gần 20% so với dự báo trước COVID -19, công suất lắp đặt tua bin gió dự kiến giảm 4,9 GW, tương đương 6%. Việc giảm công suất lắp đặt năng lượng tái tạo và các biện pháp tiết kiếm năng lượng dẫn đến mất 106,000 việc làm trong tháng 3 tại Hoa Kỳ, so với mất 51,000 việc làm trong lĩnh vực dầu khí trong cùng thời gian. Phân tích cũng chỉ ra rằng 15% tổng lượng lao động trong lĩnh vực năng lượng sạch của Mỹ có thể bị mất việc trong những tháng tới- nghĩa là hơn nửa triệu việc làm. Tiếp tục đọc “TẠI SAO CẦN ĐẦU TƯ VÀO NĂNG LƯỢNG TÁI TẠO NGAY BÂY GIỜ?”

Nuclear ‘not an effective low carbon option’

pv-magazine.com 

Researchers in the UK have analyzed 25 years of electricity-production and carbon emissions data from 123 countries. Their findings show renewables are considerably more effective than nuclear in reducing carbon emissions from energy generation and that the two technologies tend to get in each other’s way when considered in a joint approach. OCTOBER 5, 2020 MARK HUTCHINS

FOUR THINGS GOVERNMENTS CAN DO TO ATTRACT MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT

climateweeknyc.org

By Jakob Askou Bøss, Senior Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Stakeholder Relations, Ørsted and Jennifer Layke, Director of Global Energy Program, World Resources Institute

The technologies and the capital are available to accelerate the green energy transition, but the global transformation from fossil fuels to clean energy is not moving forward quickly enough. Governments need to adjust their institutional and regulatory framework to pave the way for the necessary private investments to get the job done.

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Tổng quan thống nhất về giá trị tiềm năng điện gió ngoài khơi của Việt Nam

nangluongvietnam.vn

05:49 |21/09/2020 – 

Với hơn 3.000 km bờ biển và tổng diện tích biển khoảng 1 triệu km2 (gấp 3 lần diện tích đất liền), Việt Nam có tiềm năng điện gió ngoài khơi rất lớn. Có nhiều nghiên cứu khoa học và báo cáo đã đánh giá tiềm năng này theo các khu vực biển có ranh giới, diện tích biển, hay phương pháp khác nhau nên dẫn đến có nhiều kết quả thu được khác nhau. Để thuận lợi cho các cơ quan quản lý tổng hợp tài nguyên, bảo vệ môi trường biển, hải đảo, năng lượng, điện, các nhà đầu tư và các cơ quan truyền thông, trong bài báo ngắn dưới đây, các chuyên gia thuộc Trung tâm Năng lượng, Khí hậu và biển Ai Len, Tổng cục Biển và Hải đảo, Sáng kiến chuyển dịch Năng lượng Việt Nam sẽ tóm tắt, phân tích các tiềm năng kỹ thuật điện gió ngoài khơi và đề xuất thống nhất cách sử dụng.

Tổng tiềm năng kỹ thuật điện gió trên bờ và ngoài khơi của Việt Nam
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Vietnam faces transmission conundrum for renewable energy

vnexpress.net

By Anh Minh   September 9, 2020 | 05:45 pm GMT+7

Vietnam faces transmission conundrum for renewable energy

Solar panels seen in a complex in the central Binh Thuan Province. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Trung.

Vietnam’s national grid is ill-equipped to handle the power surge from new renewable energy plants seeking to come online this year.

National utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has said in a recent report that the construction of new transmission lines might not be able to match the speed of new solar and wind power projects.

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