There are warnings about electricity shortages in the future and concerns over the difficulties in developing coal power plants.
Ngai also warned that Vietnam must find a way to close the gap between energy supply and demand in the next three years. It is predicted that Vietnam will lack 100 billion kWh in 2020 and 300 billion kWh in 2030. Vietnam must calculate carefully to generate more electricity domestically, or it must also find affordable sellers overseas.
“I think we must focus on small and medium-sized hydropower plants, and the renewable energy sources like solar, wind and biomass power,” he said.
All hydropower plants in Vietnam contribute 80 billion kWh to the national grid. When hydropower plants were being built en-mass during the 2010-2014 period, large amounts of forested land were destroyed. In many cases, the investors of small and medium-sized hydropower plants had little knowledge about what they were doing so their field survey and documents were simple and didn’t meet requirements.
The National Assembly had to scrap 400 hydropower plant projects after it was reported that a number of local departments of agriculture and rural development and departments of industry and trade didn’t follow proper discharging protocols.
“However, we must look back on some projects that could still be invested in for rural and mountainous areas. Stricter management must be applied to protect the forest and ensure the quality of the project,” Ngai said.
According to Ngai, the total contribution to the national grid will increase by 3,000MW if Vietnam builds 300 more small and medium hydropower plants. He also suggested focusing investment on three types of renewable energy including solar, wind and biomass energy.
“Vietnam has 3,360km of coastline, the longest in South East Asia with sun and wind all year round. We also build solar and wind farms in the vast deltas, midlands and mountainous areas,” he said.
Other advantages are listed such as long sunny hours in a tropical country and cheaper turbine cost.
He said, “The solar irradiance is 5 kWh per square metre per day and we have about 2,500 to 3,000 sunny hours a year. The solar panels can be installed on the sea, house roof, window, delta, mountainous areas in summer. We can produce thousands of MW from sunlight.”
Wind farms can also be built anywhere according to Nghia. The problem is how to connect them to the national grid and ensure a stable system. In addition, Vietnam should also take advantage of the billions of tonnes of discharged waste.
However, there is no effective policy to encourage the development of renewable energy.
“The government must quickly make a plan to develop renewable energy. They should gather consultants and top experts to help with the projects,” he said. “Secondly, the government must develop one or two industrial zones that specialise in making equipment for the plants. Supporting policies for investors are needed such as tax exemption for the first years.”
Ngai said the government must carry out detail research on sunlight and the amount of discharged waste from each region and province to make the best decision.