Wind Power Development Aligned with Marine Spatial Planning

8:50:47 AM | 5/17/2023

“Marine spatial planning is crucial, not only for unlocking the tremendous potential of offshore wind power for Vietnam, but also for contributing to ocean protection. This is also an opportunity for Vietnam to attract foreign investment in sustainable 'blue sea' development,” said Madam Hilde Solbakken, Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam.

Vietnam has huge potential for wind power development

Unlocking the potential of offshore wind power through sustainable marine spatial planning will help Vietnam achieve two very important goals: High income and net-zero emissions by 2050, she said. Sharing the experience from Norway, a leading oceanic country with outstanding marine economic sectors, Ambassador Solbakken emphasized that a marine spatial plan would ensure sustainable ocean management, which is essential for achieving the shared vision of a green, resilient, and prosperous future.

In Vietnam, marine spatial planning is devised to direct the use of marine spaces, including airspace, coastal land, islands and archipelagoes, coastal waters and sea waters. The sea waters are planned to be divided into five zones: The prohibited zone for exploitation; the area for conditional exploitation; the area for encouraged marine economic sectors; the area in need of special protection for national defense, security, environmental protection, and ecosystem conservation; and the area for a planned study. As for the areas planned for offshore wind power development, at present, only potential areas for wind power development are studied, including Quang Ninh, Ha Tinh, Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Tra Vinh, Ca Mau and Soc Trang.

Dr. Ta Dinh Thi, Deputy Chairman of Science, Technology and Environment Committee of the National Assembly, said, renewable energy development is a major policy of the Party, the National Assembly and the Government, for whom offshore wind power is identified as one of the breakthrough solutions for energy transformation and national energy security. It is also closely related to marine spatial planning which was assigned to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for formation by the Government and submitted to the National Assembly for approval in the coming time. The rational allocation of marine space will help achieve the goals of sustainable marine economic development, environmental protection, ecosystem and biodiversity conservation, national defense and security guarantee, foreign relations and effective international cooperation.

The report " Blue Economy Scenarios for Vietnam" published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) in May 2022 shows that, if a blue scenario is applied, it is estimated that the GDP of Vietnam’s marine economic sectors will be 34% (or US$23.5 billion) higher, and GNI per capita in these sectors almost 78% (or US$7,100) higher compared to the business-as-usual scenario in 2030.

According to Madam Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, accelerating marine spatial planning is essential for unlocking the tremendous potential of offshore wind power development for Vietnam, contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change commitments made at COP26, including achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

“Marine spatial planning should be seen as a continuous process rather than a single fixed product. As such, we must not seek to develop a single, perfect and all-encompassing document at this stage. It is essential that the development and approval of the Marine Spatial Plan, as well as the determination of the sites for offshore wind power development, is done in an open, consultative and inclusive manner. Engagement of all stakeholders, especially local communities, will be important to ensure equitable sharing of benefits and the protection of vulnerable groups,” she added.

According to experts, by providing a framework for decision-making and stakeholder engagement, marine spatial planning is expected to further ensure that renewable energy, and especially offshore wind power, is developed in a way that is socially and environmentally sustainable, while also contributing to Vietnam’s rising energy demand.

By Quynh Chi, Vietnam Business Forum