In an article published on April 26, the media outlet quotes data released by Irena, an intergovernmental renewable energy organisation, stating that the country’s production from solar and wind power increased by 237% and 60%, respectively, throughout 2020, helping raise the share of these sources to a quarter, almost a decade ahead of schedule.
The article also outlines experts’ opinions, noting that with average speeds of over 10 metres a second, reaching force six on the Beaufort scale, its territorial waters rank among the top 10% in terms of the windiest places on the planet.
Experts state that the seas off the coast of provinces such as Binh Thuan and Soc Trang, where developers such as Mainstream plan to build multibillion-dollar offshore wind farms, are also relatively shallow, with depths of between 20 metres to 50 metres.
“To illustrate how impressive Vietnam’s renewable energy adoption has been… (it) did not have any utility-scale solar power until 2018, and very little wind,” notes Thu Vu, an energy finance analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, an Ohio think-tank.
Despite this growth in the use of green energy, the expert also highlights the higher cost of offshore units relative to onshore or nearshore wind.
According to Ian Hatton, chair of Enterprize Energy, a UK-renewable energy company, Vietnam must strive to improve its infrastructure as a means of reducing costs.
He believes this could be achieved by linking up the energy-charged south to northern cities, whilst also building substations, and laying cables along the seabed for the purpose of offshore production, or through finding alternative solutions. At present, Enterprize is experimenting with converting wind energy and seawater into hydrogen.
The article also mentions the typical dilemma that low- and middle-income nations such as Vietnam face. Indeed, if they produce enough energy to meet demand without improving transmission infrastructure, it is likely that additional capacity would be squandered.
However, William Gaillard, vice-president of wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, believes the country has “shown a path for others to follow.”
“The combination of an attractive feed-in-tariff with ambitious installation targets and a transparent permitting process has been a critical factor in unlocking this market,” Gaillard concludes.