• Vietnamese energy plan to 2030 envisages doubling of generation capacity

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Details have emerged regarding Vietnam’s energy transformation plan to 2030, after the country’s government approved the strategy, meaning that only the parliament must now rubber-stamp it.

Vietnam has a 2050 net-zero target, but approval of the plan (which focuses on this decade) had been delayed for two years as complexities and competing priorities were threshed out, delaying immediate action towards the long-term target.

Under the plan, total power generation capacity would more than double this decade, from 69 GW at the end of 2020 to 150 GW by 2030 (though with different capacity factors, actual generation is unlikely to double). Coal would fall from 30.8% of the energy mix (by capacity) to 20% (which is in fact an increase in absolute capacity of 41%), while LNG would rise from nothing to 14.9%, and domestic natural gas would fall from 13.1% to 9.9% – together with imports and heat from industrial facilities, fossil fuels would therefore make up around 50% by capacity (and more in output, considering capacity factors). Hydropower would fall from 30.3% to 19.5% (a 40% increase in absolute capacity), and solar would surprisingly fall from 23.8% to just 8.5% (a curious fall of about 22% in absolute terms). Onshore wind, on the other hand, would increase from 0.8% in 2020 to 14.5% in 2030, while offshore wind and biomass would go from nothing to 4% and 1.5% respectively. Pumped hydro and batteries, of which there were effectively zero in 2020, would make up 1.8% of total capacity by 2030.

Overall, the plan allows for significantly more fossil fuel use, though probably with a significant reduction in carbon intensity, and more of a diversification in generation types. These shares could change, however, favouring a greater proportion of renewables, if pledges from the G7 nations – which amount to US$15.5 billion in initial funds – are fully implemented. A Vietnamese diplomat told Reuters that the energy plan is not completely in line with G7 goals because of the continued substantial use of coal. In total, the plan requires US$134.7 billion to 2030 to fund not only generation capacity but also grid infrastructure.