Vietnam has a major opportunity to stop relying on foreign coal and build our own modern renewable energy system which does not pollute our air, our waterways, and our agricultural land. We should make sure we do not miss this chance.
…located on the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is maybe not the first country you think of when talking about renewable energy and cleantech development. However, Vietnam is privileged regarding its unexplored potential for diverse renewable energy sources. Up until now, only 189.2 MW of wind and close to 0 MW of solar are installed in the country and there was hardly any progress visible in the last years. Besides large hydropower, which because of its negative impact on the environment such as flooding and deforestation is not counted as a renewable energy source on a national level, Vietnam is powering its economic growth almost entirely on fossil fuels (coal and gas). The national power development planning is forecasting a huge increase in coal capacity leading up to 2030.
Despite all of this, there seems to be hope and a change in the narrative and argumentation of key decision makers towards a future powered by more renewables. Looking at the successes of the past and the challenges of the future in Vietnam’s booming and vital economy and energy market, it is vital to understand how political will can slow down or accelerate renewable energy development in Vietnam. After years of coal extension, it looks like 2020 will be an important milestone for phasing into renewables and a green growth path while reducing the country’s dependency on imported coal.