Coal consumption surges in Vietnam

By Dang Khoa   June 8, 2018 | 08:24 pm PT
Coal consumption surges in Vietnam
Year-on-year coal consumption rose 18 percent in the first five months of 2018. Photo by Reuters
High demand from manufacturing industries helps Vinacomin exceed targets.

The Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) has topped its business goal for the first five months of the year with coal consumption reaching 17.6 million tons.

This figure was 2.8 million tons over the same period last year.

The nation’s consumption of 4.2 million tons of coal last month was the highest recorded in years, according to Vinacomin.

High demand from power plants, fertilizer and cement makers are behind the surge in coal consumption, the government portal says. Increasing growth of electric generators, minerals and industrial explosive materials has also contributed.

Vinacomin has reported a 22 percent year-on-year increase in revenue for the first five months at over VND52 trillion. It has contributed over VND5.9 trillion to the state budget.

In the first half of this year, the group expects to produce 20.27 million tons of raw coal. It has estimated first half consumption at 21.6 million tons and expects this to rise to 38 million tons for the year.

Environmentalists have been calling for Vietnam to roll back coal production and consumption, citing pollution concerns and worsening impacts of global warming.

Vietnam plans to build 26 additional coal power plants after 2020.

At a recent conference, experts said as many as 25 of these should be scrapped.

The Green Innovation and Development Center (GreenID) said that by removing 25 plants, which have a targeted annual output of 30 Gigawatts (GW), Vietnam can cut down the ratio of power generated for the national grid by coal from 42.6 to 24.4 percent.

Coal, despite its harmful environmental impacts, is still the dominant power source for Vietnam. By 2030, over half of the country’s power will come from coal, adding 55,300MW to the national grid from 83 plants across the country, according to the revised government Power Development Master Plan VII.

The development of coal-based power poses a challenge for the country's leaders who have, in recent years, repeatedly echoed the message of not sacrificing the environment for economic development.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told Reuters recently that the nation plans to more than triple the amount of electricity it produces from renewable sources and push for a 26 percent increase in household solar energy usage by 2030.

"Vietnam is blessed with immense potential for clean renewable energy development," Phuc said.

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