Post written by Nguyen Trinh Hoang Anh, 2016-03-30. Edited and published by MHD.

On 18th March 2016, the Government of Vietnam approved the adjustments of 7th Vietnam Power Development Planning in the period 2011 - 2020 with an outlook up to 2030 [1]. This official decision aims to ensure the national energy security and meet the socio-economic development objectives of the country with an average GDP growth of about 7.0% during the period. This economic growth rate is projected 1.5% lower than in the 7th Power Development Plan of Vietnam (PDP7) issued in 2011 [2].

The lower projections of economic growth in Vietnam, reduce the demand for total electricity generation by about 20% and 18% by 2020 and 2030, respectively. As consequence, the total power installed capacity of Vietnam in the adjustment would reach only 265 GW by 2020 and 572 GW by 2030 as compared to 330 GW and 695 GW in the original PDP7. Table 1 presents more changes in the electricity mix of Vietnam in the updated version of the PDP7.

Power capacity and electricity generation by 2020 and 2030 in the 7th Power Development Plan (PDP7, 2011) and the adjustment (PDP7-A, 2016)
2020 2030
PDP7 PDP7-A PDP7 PDP7-A
Total generation TWh 330 265 695 572
Total capacity GW 75 60 146.8 129.5
Hydro (except small) GW 19 18 23 22
Coal GW 36 26 76 55
Natural gas GW 12 9 17 19
Renewables GW 4 6 14 27
Nuclear GW 1 0 10 4.6
Import GW 2.3 1.4 7.2 1.6

Compared to the previous version of the plan, this is a huge step forward by the Vietnamese Government towards climate change mitigation policies. This is not an European-style energy transition: fossil fuel-based technologies still heavily dominate the internal energy industry. However, it does meet the ambitious CO2 reduction objectives of Vietnam at the COP 21. Cuts of fossil fuel consumption are deep compared to the baseline. Coal consumption reduction of nearly 30%, changing from 76GW to 55GW, by 2030.

The PDP7-A still develops nuclear power plants to ensure stable power supply in the future but the plants will not put into operation before 2028. By 2030, the nuclear power capacity could reach 4.6 GW with its electricity generation of 32.5 TWh per year, accounting for 5.7% of total generation mix.

Changes in renewable power capacity
2020 2030
PDP7 PDP7-A PDP7 PDP7-A
Medium and large Hydro GW 17.4 20.4 25.4
Pumped storage hydro GW 1.8 1.2 5.4 2.4
Wind GW 1.0 0.8 6.2 6.0
Biomass 0.5 GW 2.7 TWh 2.0 GW 12.0 TWh
Solar GW 0.85 12

Table 2 presents differences between power capacities from each type of renewable energy in PDP7 and PDP7-A. Hydropower sources, including pump-storage hydropower plants, remain the largest share in the total renewable power capacity and slightly increase to 25.4 GW in PDP7-A.

Thank to the recent solar energy maps of Vietnam, there is a big move in development of power sources from solar energy, including the concentrating stations on the ground and scattering sets on the building roofs, in the PDP7-A, raising the total capacity of the solar power projects from the current negligible level to about 850 MW, with a power generation rate about 0.5% of total generation mix by 2020, 4 GW with – 1.6% by 2025 and 12 GW with – 3.3% by 2030. Note that in the PDP7, solar power was not given any quantitative projection.

In contrast, wind power, unfortunately, has not received any more attention in PDP7-A although the government has been issued feed-in-tariffs for wind electricity generation. The wind power capacity in PDP7-A would even be lower than its previous projection in PDP7.

Although the PDP7-A presents large decreases in fossil fuel consumption from now to 2030 for electricity generation, the government has not set any emission targets for the electricity sector. The most notable points in the PDP7-A are: (1) deep cut of coal consumption in the power sector due to lower projection of electricity demand, and (2) excluding hydropower, solar power is expected to be the most important renewable resource for electricity generation in Vietnam with its total capacity by 2030 is about 12 GW.

In summary, we believe that this adjustment represents a significant step towards a sustainable energy sector in Vietnam, and refer to [4] for more discussion of a low carbon future for the power sector.

References:

  1. The Government of Vietnam, The adjustments of 7th Vietnam Power Development Planning, 2016
  2. The Government of Vietnam, The 7th Power Development Plan of Vietnam, 2011.
  3. Vietnam Energy, Adjusting Vietnam National Power Development Planning, 2016.
  4. Hoang Anh Nguyen Trinh, Minh Ha-Duong. Low Carbon Scenario for the Power Sector of Vietnam: Externality and Comparison Approach. GMSARN International Journal, 2016, 9 (4), pp.137-146. hal-01277074