|Photo: Financial Times|
The UK’s Financial Times on April 26 ran an article highlighting that the expansion of Vietnam’s wind and solar farms is proving crucial to powering its economic growth. According to data from Irena, an inter-governmental renewable energy organization, Vietnam’s production from solar and wind increased 237 percent and 60 percent, respectively in 2020, raising the share of these sources to a quarter — almost a decade ahead of schedule, it wrote. With an average speed of more than 10 meters a second, Vietnam’s territorial waters rank in the top 10 percent of the windiest places on the planet, Vietnam Plus cited.
The seas off the provinces of Binh Thuan and Soc Trang where developers plan to build multibillion-dollar offshore wind farms are also relatively shallow, with depths of 20 meters to 50 meters.
The article also outlines experts’ opinions, noting that with average speeds of over 10 meters 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.
“Many other countries in the region also have good wind speeds but they are limited by deep seas,” says Adrian Dempsey, chief financial officer for the Asia-Pacific region at Mainstream Renewable Power, an Irish energy company that operates in Vietnam.
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 meters to 50 meters, VOV reported.
“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.
Ian Hatton, Chair of Enterprize Energy, a UK-renewable energy company, said in order to reduce cost, Vietnam must improve its infrastructure, build substations, and lay cables along the seabed for offshore production, or finding alternative solutions. Enterprize is experimenting with converting wind energy and seawater to hydrogen.
He also noted an example of the dilemma facing low- and middle-income nations such as Vietnam. Accordingly, if they produce enough energy to meet demand without improving transmission infrastructure, additional capacity could be squandered.
But William Gaillard, Vice President of wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, believed that Vietnam has “shown a path for others to follow, adding that 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.
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