Less Coal, More Renewables

9:44:32 AM | 12/28/2021

Renewable energy is uplifted in Power Master Plan VIII (the latest version made in November 2021) after three revisions. To achieve the net-zero emission goal by 2050, no new thermal power projects will be granted after 2021 and existing coal ones will gradually close operating coal power plants.

It's time for renewable energy to take the throne and coal power to retreat

Investment in renewable energy is an essential power development trend in the world. In 2020, newly installed renewable power generation capacity accounted for 83% while fossil energy and nuclear power made up only 17%. This showed that coal power is gradually receding and "giving way" to clean energy in line with the global future energy development trend.

An Hao Ecological Park – a sister product of Sao Mai Solar Farm

Some Asian countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines have announced that they are canceling or reviewing new coal power projects. Japan and South Korea pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 even prior to COP26. GEM found that coal power projects will be further delayed or even become financially impossible because it is much harder to raise funds for coal power projects while input costs for renewable energy tend to decline and bring in more advantages to investors.

Getting rid of open furnaces

Coal power, threatener to net-zero emission ambitions

The world is escaping from coal power while Vietnam and China are doing the opposite.

Ten years ago, coal power played a minor role in the national grid, contributing only 17.6% of the output, far behind gas-fueled power (49.4%) and hydroelectricity (30.1%). But just after a decade of continuous capacity expansion, coal power has taken the throne in Vietnam when it generates 52.9% of electricity output, surpassing hydroelectricity (25.5%) and sinking gas power to 15.7%.

Coal power in history with many lasting consequences

The share of Vietnam's coal power output is now 1.6 times higher than the world average (52.9% versus 33.8%) while the share of wind and solar power output is only approximately half of the world (5.4% versus 9.4%). The continuous increase in capacity and output of coal power has turned Vietnam into a giant "thermal power" generator although its power system scale ranks No. 23 in the world.

With 27 new coal power plants proposed for construction in the next 15 years (Power Plan VIII, October), Vietnam's greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase to estimated 350 million tons of CO2 in 2045, thus clearly threatening the net-zero emission goal five years later (2050).

Saving the blue sky

In October 2021, more than 200 scientists and NLS businesses sent a letter to the Prime Minister on Power Master Plan VIII, hoping that the Government will carefully consider the draft towards sustainability of the global power system. Renewable energy needs to be developed to compensate for the depletion of primary energy sources.

Inevitable green power trend in place of dirty energy

What policy for renewable energy?

Mr. Ha Dang Son, Director of the Center for Energy and Green Growth Research, added that, in order to achieve zero emissions by 2050, Vietnam needs huge investment in energy storage and power transmission in order to achieve zero emissions by 2050 and encourage businesses to invest in this energy source.

NLS is well-deservedly honored

“Vietnam has an endless green energy source that no money is needed to buy. If we know how to capture and use it effectively, we can ensure national energy security. A true interest will certainly arouse the internal potential of Vietnamese enterprises. The government does not need to pour money into investors as long as good and transparent policies are in place, it will bring a lot of benefits to the nation and protect the country's sustainable development achievements,” said a southern giant business in a press release.

By Hai Minh, Vietnam Business Forum