VUSTA and VIET held an online talk on offshore wind development in Viet Nam
August 18, 2021 - Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Association (VUSTA) and Vietnam institute for Energy Transition (VIET) held an online conference on “Offshore wind development in Vietnam: Environmental and social impact assessment regulations”.
VUSTA President Dr. Phan Xuan Dung in his opening speech at the conference
The Conference gathered policy makers and experts in businesses operating in the energy, environment and other relevant sectors to discuss offshore wind development and ways to minimize environmental and social impact.
In his opening speech, Dr. Phan Xuan Dung noted that Vietnam is the country with the greatest wind power potential out of the region’s four nations, with more than 39% of Vietnam’s area having an average wind speed greater than 6m/s at the height of 65m, equal to 512 GW of power.
According to the 8th Power development plan (PDP8) published on February 2020, Vietnam must reach its wind power development goal of 18.6 GW by 2030 and 60.6 GW by 2045, with offshore wind power goal being 3-5 GW by 2030. These numbers showed that wind power in general and offshore wind power in particular are predicted to grow rapidly and constitute a significant part of Vietnam’s national power source in the future.
Identifying wind power as Vietnam’s long-term strength in 2011, the Vietnamese government released Decision No. 37/2011/QĐ-TTg on aiding wind power development projects in Vietnam. In 2018, the government released Decision No. 39/2018/QĐ-TTg, modifying certain articles of Decision No. 37. Until now, Vietnam has generated 533 MW of onshore and near-shore wind power, and this figure is expected to reach 5866 MW by the end of 2021. Despite prices and circulars on instructing electricity purchase contracts already in place, no offshore projects have been deployed in Vietnam as of now (excluding near-shore wind power projects). This is due to the lack of certain regulations and technical standards in applying wind power offshore, including instructions on environmental and social impact assessment and control.
Learning from preceding countries, the more detailed the complete framework, including laws, standards and detailed instructions on assessing, controlling environmental and social impact is, the easier development will become. Although some environmental and social issues in Vietnam are regulated in certain laws such as environmental protection, biodiversity, resources management… but the complexity of offshore wind power projects (using resources both on land and at sea) still requires consistency among law and sub-law documents, as well as specificity in demands, planning and close environmental and social supervision to encourage businesses to invest in offshore wind power development.
Ms. Ngo Thi To Nhien, VIET CEO
Ms. Ngo Thi To Nhien, VIET CEO revealed that opportunities are there, but so are challenges in deploying offshore wind power projects in Vietnam. This includes difficulties in relevant legal basis and zoning systems, issues in network connection and system operation, seamlessly operating offshore wind power alongside other activities at sea, supporting industries and, especially, investment mechanism and electricity purchase contracts. This work requires coordination from all parties to ensure economic benefits and improve the nation’s reputation.
Nhien also said that approving offshore wind power projects requires a state agency, preventing overlapping processes and prolonged preparation time from investors.
In addition, there must be collaboration among relevant Ministries and departments, ensuring a unified policy on development scheming, sea and harbor management, electricity development and power grid operation scheming, investment procedures and financial tools. Only then can offshore wind power attract local and international investors.
Resolution No. 55-NQ/TW dated 11/2/2020 from the Politburo serves as guidance for constructing support policies and breakthrough mechanisms for offshore wind power development, as a part of Vietnam’s marine strategy. With a buying price of 9.8 US cents/kWh, the goal of developing offshore wind power needs to be officially included in PDP8, ensuring national power security.
Wind power projects simultaneously deployed in the past have created a positive effect on motivating economic development in Vietnam. Constructing and manufacturing mechanical equipment, oversized and overweight cargo transport and maritime transport have created thousands of jobs, stimulating investment funds in and outside the country, raising human resource level, creating a boost for socioeconomic development and green economy development. In fact, many businesses have already participated in onshore and near-shore wind power projects. With the capability and experience of marine works and the supporting logistics system from the oil industry, Vietnam is totally capable of developing offshore wind power with logistic services in the coming years.
In order to utilize domestic resources and catch up with the offshore wind power trend, measures must take place: Vietnam needs to research and sum up experiences from developed countries regarding surveying, construction, development, offshore wind power management and supply chain; survey and assess existing capabilities and the potential to meet the requirements for establishing domestic supply chains; study international conventions and establish compatible legislative mechanisms, increasing the chance of accessing global sources of funds.
At the conference, delegates also heard presentations from Ms. Cao Thu Yen and Mr. Pham Quoc Dat on offshore wind power development in Vietnam: recommendations on environmental and social impact assessment regulations.
Participants also discussed and put forward opinions such as the offshore wind power resource being a new source of energy and is being heavily invested in globally in today’s circumstances. Wind power at sea is converted to electricity thanks to wind turbines being built with higher longevity, capable of withstanding the hostile marine environment. As such, in order to exploit this potential, Vietnam must have policies on motivating and constructing national strategies and ocean scheming to develop offshore wind power until 2030 with vision for 2045.