Vietnam is at the forefront of a growing number of countries who are transforming the way they generate and use energy, said Deputy Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong of the Ministry of Industry and Trade at a recent forum in Hanoi.
In his speech, Deputy Minister Vuong outlined a series of initiatives the Vietnam government has undertaken targeting reduced emissions to mitigate the dangers of climate change and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Among other things, he noted there is a fundamental need to transform the country’s energy sector away from fossil fuels and towards clean, renewable energy such as wind power.
Today the country has virtually no wind generation, but the Government has set an ambitious target to increase the wind power capacity to 6,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030, which, if achieved, would be a remarkable accomplishment.
With the support of the Danish Energy Agency the Government is mapping out a Wind Energy Program that will craft a competitive bidding mechanism for large-scale renewable energy development and a feed-in tariff for smaller-scale systems.
The gist of the program is that it will require Government owned utilities to buy all clean power generated by non-utility producers at favourable standardized prices that will attract and encourage early and substantial investment in wind projects.
Henrik Breum, an adviser to the Danish Energy Agency Centre for Global Cooperation, in turn told those attending the conference about Denmark’s experiences with developing wind energy.
Mr Breum noted that before the 1973 oil crisis, 99% of electricity in Denmark was sourced from fossil fuel-fired power stations. But things changed dramatically in the four subsequent decades as Denmark embarked on a national policy of low-carbon energy development.
In 2014, renewable energy accounted for over half (56%) of the total power generated in Denmark, which is the highest percentage of any country around the globe.
Wind energy requires large upfront investment, so the Danish government has adopted smart finance polices and set appropriate electricity prices, which favour the use of wind power in the national grid.
For his part, Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council, noted that wind power currently accounts for 4% of the world’s electricity requirements and indicted that the percentage could climb to as high as 8% by 2020.
Over the longer term, he optimistically speculated that it could hit 18-20% by 2030 and around 30% by 2050, but that is only if countries concentrated their efforts on combating climate change, which admittedly is not likely to happen.
Lastly, Danish Ambassador to Vietnam Charlotte Laursen, spoke about Denmark’s experiences with wind energy and how it could benefit the country’s industrial development strategy.
If properly implemented, wind power could attract substantial foreign direct investment and have a transformative effect on low-carbon energy development, noted Ambassador Laursen.
The experience of Denmark, she said, is consistent with that of other countries, and it shows that with just a few million dollars of public funding and via the adoption of smart finance policies, countries can successfully attract billions of dollars of private investment for wind energy development.