In Vietnam’s booming energy sector coal reigns, but renewables play catch-up

Published onJune 6, 2019

Vietnam has become a hot spot for energy investors eying a spend of up to $150 billion over the coming decade to meet surging power demand, with coal set to dominate despite signs of a government effort to go green. With a population nudging 100 million and annual GDP growth around 7%, Vietnam has forecast power generation will need to rise from about 47,000 megawatts (MW) currently to 60,000 MW by 2020 and 129,500 MW by 2030. To meet these targets the country will need to add more than neighbor Thailand’s total installed capacity by 2025 and its electricity sector will likely be bigger than Britain’s by the mid-2020s…the country’s current Power Development Plan (PDP 7) puts coal front and center to meet new demand. While generation is set to double, PDP 7 forecast coal-fired generation would grow rapidly to 2030, with its share of the energy market rising from 33 percent to 56 percent. But a change of emphasis that began in 2016 with a revised version of PDP 7 has started to embrace cheaper renewable energy, and analysts expect PDP 8, due later this year, to further adjust policy.