Vietnam needs just one, not 26 coal power plants

By Bich Ngoc   June 6, 2018 | 08:14 pm PT
Vietnam needs just one, not 26 coal power plants
Vietnamese environmental non-profit GreenID said Vietnam only needs to build one new coal power plant after 2020.
Nation can save $7 billion in coal imports and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 116 million tons each year, experts say.

Vietnam should remove 25 coal power plants from its post-2020 energy master plan, prevent massive environmental pollution and save a lot of money, experts say.

At a conference on energy conservation held in Hanoi on Tuesday, they said that the coal power plants were not needed to sustain the national grid.

Vietnam is currently planning to build 26 additional coal power plants after 2020.

However, the Green Innovation and Development Center (GreenID) said that as many 25 of these were not required.

By removing these 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.

This would help reduce the use of an environmentally unfriendly source, the center said.

Vietnam would also save $7 billion it would have to spend on importing approximately 70 million tons of coal, and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 116 million tons, each year, it added.

GreenID also suggested that Vietnam increases the capacity of its renewable energy sources from 27GW to 32GW by 2030, increasing the contribution of this sector from 21 to 30 percent of the total.

“We implore our government to seize the opportunity to develop our renewable energy sources,” said Nguy Thi Khanh, director of GreenID and the first Vietnamese to receive the Goldman Environmental Prize that seeks to reward grassroots activism in all regions of the world.

“This would ensure a safer and healthier future for the Vietnamese people,” she said.

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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