National Energy Master Plan Needed for Sustainable Energy Development

10:49:27 AM | 1/27/2021

To efficiently utilize domestic energy resources, combined with reasonable energy export and import, and ensure adequate energy supply for socio-economic development, building the National Energy Master Plan for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050 is essential. Currently, the draft plan is being prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Addressing shortcomings in energy management

In the coming years, the world energy development trend will focus on strong energy transition, climate change response and energy security. If Vietnam is a net importer of energy, it will be affected by global energy trends. The introduction of the Energy Master Plan is expected to address the harmonious development of energy sub-sectors, provide a more open plan, and facilitate authorities to manage the energy sector.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in recent years, energy sub-sector development plans such as electricity, coal, oil and gas and renewable energy were made separately by different agencies, resulting in certain consistency of these plans. Therefore, this Energy Master Plan needs to provide an optimal energy infrastructure development plan for the country.

In the context of integration, as a responsible country in the international community, Vietnam will have to implement its commitments to combat climate change. Deeply participating in the global supply chain, in addition to its advantages, Vietnam will face difficulties in ensuring sustainable energy development and meeting socio-economic development requirements. All of the above factors need to be modeled and calculated harmoniously in the overall energy development scenario.

According to experts from the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA), this draft National Energy Master Plan addresses many shortcomings of the previous sub-sector plans. Not only paying attention to energy development factors, it also refers to environmental factors, climate factors, price factors, market factors and efficiency factors. Particularly, this master plan has closely followed State directions and policies with medium and long-term targets, such as Resolution 55 of the Politburo and renewable energy development strategy to 2050. Fact-based planning will be more feasible.

Harmonious development of energy sub-sectors needed

VSEA experts said that the draft master plan is still based on classical thinking, depending on conventional fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the world's modern energy system relies on four pillars: Decarbonization; decentralization; digitalization and electrification. This new mindset should be used as a guideline throughout the plan to keep up with modern trends.

VSEA also noted that it is necessary to include the content of minimized import of primary energy, especially coal, into the draft, instead, maximizing the use of domestic primary energy sources to make Vietnam an energy exporter in the future.

Regarding the efficient use of renewable energy sources, experts believe that renewable energy sources other than electricity generation should be promoted to apply in other industries such as industry, transportation, agriculture, and civil. As for biogas energy, it is necessary to define specific development goals for each stage to tap this potential source.

Regarding the market and energy prices, VSEA believes that the current plan only covers the electricity market. The planning should have a synchronized market for energy sectors, with the required timing and roadmap. On the basis of this the energy market roadmap, the planning needs to set out specific policies and mechanisms for implementation. Similarly, for energy prices, it is also necessary to give specific calculations for each period, coupled with impacts on the economy, to ensure social security. This is the decisive factor for the feasibility of the plan.

By Huong Ly, Vietnam Business Forum