New solar cheaper than coal in Vietnam within three years

Published onJune 14, 2019

Developing new solar power generation capacity could be cheaper than running existing coal-fired power plants in Vietnam as early as 2022, according to a study by financial thinktank the Carbon Tracker Initiative. The London-based not-for-profit group posited that timescale as one of three scenarios it examined to explain why Vietnamese policymakers would be ill advised to follow through with a planned coal pipeline amounting to 32 GW of new capacity. Comparing the cost of running coal based power plants in a nation dependent on seaborne imports with a median estimate of the levelized cost of electricity produced from PV projects, analysts found that new solar would outcompete existing fossil fuel assets by 2032 even in the worst case scenario for the renewable energy. The key to the comparison rested on fuel costs to transport coal to Vietnam. A low weighted average fuel cost of $64/ton would see new PV more attractive by 2032. A fuel price of $81/ton would bring the inflection point forward to 2028 and PV would be more attractive than coal within three years if the fuel price rose to $99/ton, according to Carbon Tracker.