Hanoi, Vietnam, February 2, 2016
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has assigned the Energy Institute to adjust the seventh electricity generation development plan (PDP 7) before being submitted to the Prime Minister for approval.
Experts have repeatedly warned that the forecast demand and the required investment capital are high, which will put a heavy burden on the national economy.
However, there is another reason cited to adjust PDP 7: the plan does not show appropriate attention to sustainable development in electricity generation. With the plan, Vietnam will still heavily rely on coal thermopower plants.
Under PDP 7, Vietnam’s power plants would have total installation capacity of 137,000 MW and the expected output of 695 billion kwh.
Meanwhile, the capacity of thermopower plants would be 22,500 MW and output would be 431 billion kwh. This means that thermopower plants would still provide 62 percent of the total electricity volume needed by the economy.
Experts commented that PDP 7 relies too much on coal thermal power partially because of the limited primary energy sources.
However, they pointed out that PDP 7 clearly is contrary to the growing tendency in the world.
Developed countries now try to use alternative energy sources to generate electricity with an aim to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.
Meanwhile, Vietnam tends to burn more coal to create electricity. Under PDP 7, the volume of coal Vietnam uses would increase from 12.6 million tons in 2012 to 79 million tons in 2020 and 188.7 million tons in 2030.
Tran Dinh Sinh, deputy director of GreenID, commented that PDP 7 inclines toward solutions to boost development, while it does not attach much importance to solutions of social issues and environmental protection.
“PDP 7 decides to develop thermal power at high proportion which will put big pressure on the society and environment,” he commented.
Sinh, citing independent research works conducted by GreenID, warned that if Vietnam heavily relies on fossil fuel, its energy security would be affected.
Some scientists who attended a workshop held recently by VUSTA, the union of science associations, noted that PDP 7 programmers did not attach much importance to renewable energy sources when they designed PDP 7 because at that time, thermal power was very cheap thanks to coal subsidies.
With the subsidy mechanism, input materials (coal) accounted for 40-50 percent of the electricity production cost. This made wind and solar energy less competitive in comparison with thermal power.