Friday , December 8 2023

Vietnam cannot bank solely on renewable energy for net-zero emissions

Experts say an exclusive focus on renewable energy, accounting for 27 percent of total power supply, will not be enough to help Vietnam reach its “net-zero” emissions target by 2050.

Wind and solar power are not the sources of energy that will help Vietnam ensure national security, says Sean Lawlor, an energy expert at the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam.

To achieve the net-zero target, which means to have the amount of carbon added to the atmosphere not exceed the amount removed, Vietnam needs to speed up its energy transition process, which began in 2019, he said.

This means the country needs to transition from coal-fired power sources to liquefied natural gas, biomass, ammoniac or hydrogen power sources, he added.

As of last year, wind and solar power accounted for nearly 27 percent of Vietnam’s total energy supply, and their production was nearly 12.3 percent of the total, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In the first six months of this year, the production ratio increased to 14.8 percent.

While there is agreement that transitioning to cleaner energy is needed, there are hurdles in this path, officials say.

Nguyen Ngoc Hung, head of the energy economics department under the industry ministry’s Institute of Energy, said Vietnam has great potential for transitioning from traditional energy sources because there is a variety of renewable energy sources on hand.

However, the country lacks an efficient legal framework to boost the transitioning process and localization of energy technology is low, he said, adding that competition in the market was still at an early stage and lacked synchronization.

Hung said Vietnam badly needs the energy transition as the country faces the major challenges of declining traditional sources like coal and hydropower, but it was not easy to raise the funds needed.

Nguyen Tai Anh, deputy director of Vietnam Electricity (EVN) said he was concerned about the very high costs of transitioning to newer technologies like biomass, ammoniac or hydrogen power.

“There are also many policy challenges for a successful energy transitioning, but cost remains the most important factor.”

Deepak Maloo, Asia Pacific regional head with GE Renewable Energy, said every country struggles with the cost of transitioning to cleaner energy.

But technology can help solve the problem, he added.

For instance, Vietnam can partner with companies that have hundreds of years of experience in transitioning from coal-fired power plants to gas-fired ones, he said.

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