Transition to Green Energy: Inevitable Trend

10:35:13 AM | 8/24/2022

Power Master Plan 8 revised the entire electricity development plan of Vietnam in 2021-2030, with a vision to 2045, in order to achieve COP26 commitments and gradually reduce CO2 emissions.

At the Workshop on “COP26 impacts on energy transition to green growth” on August 17, Mr. Hoang Tien Dung, Director of the Department of Electricity and Renewable Energy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that, as of late 2020, the total installed capacity of power sources of all types of the national power system reached 69,342 MW, ranking 2nd in ASEAN and 23rd in the world by capacity.

Thermal power - still a high proportion

Specifically, hydroelectricity capacity was 20,993 MW (accounting for 30.3% of capacity and 29.6% of output); coal-fired power, 21,383 MW (30.8% capacity, 50% output); gas-fueled power, 9,025 MW (13.1% of capacity, 14.6% of output); and solar power, 16,506 MW (23.8% of capacity, 3.7% of output).

Thermal power is the main source of electricity for Vietnam's grid, especially coal power which accounts for more than 31% of capacity and up to 50% of output. This power source emits a lot of CO2 that affects the environment and needs to be limited in the long term.

Before COP26, on October 8, 2021, the Ministry of Industry and Trade submitted the National Electricity Development Plan for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2045 (Power Master Plan 8) to the Prime Minister for approval.

Accordingly, by 2045, the total installed capacity of power plants will be 262,000-330,000 MW.

Hydroelectricity and pumped-storage hydroelectricity will reach to 35,677- 41,477 MW, accounting for 12.6-13.6%; coal-fired power to 50,949 MW, accounting for 15.4-19.4%; gas thermal power (including LNG) to 53,833-70,533 MW, accounting for 20.5-21.4%; renewable energy sources other than hydropower (wind power, solar power, biomass power and others) to 104,900-137,610 MW, accounting for 40.1-41.7%; and electricity import at 8,743-11,042 MW, accounting for 3.3%.

The structure of electricity production by 2045 will include hydropower, 8.2-9.8%, coal-fired thermal power, 27.4-32.4%; gas-fired thermal power, 28.4-33.1%; and renewable energy other than hydroelectricity, 26.5-28.4%.

“Clearly, thermal power sources by 2045 in the Master Plan submitted before COP26 still account for a relatively high proportion, from 36% to 41% of capacity and from 56% to 66% of output. This is the main cause of high CO2 emissions,” Dung emphasized.

CO2 emissions from electricity generation will increase quite rapidly, reaching about 245 million metric tons by 2030 and about 383 million tons by 2045.

By 2045, coal power will be less than green power

However, Vietnam's carbon-neutral commitments by 2050 made by the Prime Minister at COP26 completely changed Vietnam's electricity development perspective in the coming time. Therefore, the Power Master Plan 8 had to be recalibrated entirely.

Accordingly, the country will minimize the number of coal-fired power plants to reduce CO2 emissions and will not develop more new coal-fired power plants after 2030 and consider converting some coal power projects to use LNG.

It will gradually switch to using biomass or ammonia fuel (by gradually increasing the proportion of combustion), accelerate fuel conversion to switch to using completely clean fuel by 2050.

LNG power sources will gradually switch to using hydrogen fuel and completely switch to using hydrogen fuel when the technology is mature. At the same time, it is possible to develop new generation hydrogen-fueled power plants; promote affordable renewable energy source development.

Given these perspectives, the Ministry of Industry and Trade reviewed and revised the entire electricity development plan and submitted Power Master Plan 8 with Report 2279/TTr-BCT dated April 29, 2022 to the Prime Minister.

The total capacity of power plants is estimated to reach 120,995-145,930 MW by 2030 and 284,660-387,875 MW by 2045 (excluding rooftop solar power and cogeneration sources).

Specifically, coal-fired power will reach 37,467 MW (25.7-31%) by 2030 and keep this capacity till 2045 (9.7-13.2%). LNG power will be 14,800-23,900 MW (12.2-16.4%) by 2030 and 28,400-31,400 MW (10-15.1%) by 2035 and then stay unchanged until 2045.

Onshore wind power will rise to 11,700-16,121 MW (9.7-11%) by 2030 and 36,170- 55,950 MW (12.7-14.4%) by 2045. Offshore wind will be 7,000 MW by 2030 (4.8%) and up to 30,000-64,500 MW (10.5-16.6%) by 2045. Large-scale solar power will be 8,736 MW (6-7.2%) by 2030 and 58,521-76,000 MW (19.6-20.6%) by 2045.

Comparing the power source planning in the Master Plan submitted in April 2022 with the Master Plan submitted before COP26, coal power generation capacity will be reduced by 23,400 MW and the LNG power source capacity will be decreased by 24,350 MW by 2045.

Meanwhile, solar power will be boosted by 33,000MW, onshore wind power by 23,000MW and offshore wind power by 28,500MW. Other renewable power sources will be also increased significantly.

According to Dung, driven by the strong development of renewable energy and fuel conversion of thermal power plants, CO2 emissions of the post-COP26 Power Development Plan will decrease sharply.

Specifically, CO2 emissions will peak at 231 million metric tons in 2031-2035 and then gradually decrease. By 2045, CO2 emissions will be reduced to 175 million metric tons, a sharp drop of 208 million tons versus the pre-COP26 scenario.

And by 2050, CO2 emissions from the power generation sector are forecast to slide to 40 million tons a year, making an important contribution to Vietnam's COP26 commitments to net zero net emissions by 2050.

“Although there are still many difficulties and challenges in ensuring electricity supply for socioeconomic development and implementing Vietnam's COP26 commitments, it is certain that the green energy transition is irreversible. Vietnam needs to make a lot of efforts to achieve the goals set by the Government," he emphasized.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum