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Vietnam's revised energy plan might not be as green as it seems

By Ha Phuong   May 17, 2016 | 07:31 pm PT
Last March, Vietnam upped its planned share of renewable energy for 2030 to 10 percent, from the initial 4.5 percent. However, in the next 15 years, Vietnam also plans to increase its reliance on coal fired power, the most carbon intensive electricity source. 

*Vietnam relies mostly on hydropower to produce electricity. Therefore, renewable energy in this article refers only to solar power, wind power and biomass energy.

As part of the Power Development Master Plan VII released in July 2011, the country will give priority to developing renewable energy sources. The rate of renewable power is planned to account for 4.5 percent by 2020 and six percent in 2030. However, the revised Power Development Master Plan VII released in March 2016 has adjusted those rates up.

Source: Power Development Master Plan VII

Wind power, solar energy and biomass power contribute insignificantly to total electricity produced. 

Source: Power Development Master Plan VII\

On the other hand, by 2030, the government plans to rely on coal-based plants to produce electricity, making coal fired power the dominant power source. The rate of renewable energy will only account for 10.7 percent of the country's power supplies.

Source: Power Development Master Plan VII

Details in the Power Development Master Plan VII show that as of 2030, there will be 83 coal-based plants, but only 10 renewable plants. According to the Guardian, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has warned that plans to build more coal-fired power plants in Asia would be a “disaster for the planet”. “If Vietnam goes forward with 40GW of coal, if the entire region implements the coal-based plans right now, I think we are finished,” he added.

Source: Power Development Master Plan VII

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