Vietnam aims to boost solar energy, reduce coal use

By Toan Dao   March 22, 2016 | 09:42 am GMT+7
Vietnam’s government plans to significantly increase the contribution made by the solar energy sector and cut power generated from coal, according to adjustments to the National Power Development Plan for 2011-2020 with a vision to 2030 recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

The adjustments were made following the country’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21, in Paris last year.

The country’s solar energy sector is expected to produce 850 MW of electricity, or 0.5 percent of the country’s total electricity output, by 2020. The plan outlines a target to increase that figure to 1.6 percent of total output by 2025 and 3.3 percent by 2030. Solar energy’s contribution to Vietnam’s energy mix is currently very limited, the government said.

Vietnam did not set a specific target for the development of solar energy in the National Power Development Plan released in July 2011.

In December last year, Vietnam committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent in 2030 and possibly 25 percent if it receives effective support from the international community.

A landmark climate change deal was approved by nearly 200 countries in Paris in December 2015 with a legally-binding pact seeking to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and committing $100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing nations.

Vietnam has set a new target of reducing the capacity of coal-fired power projects to 26,000 MW by 2020, falling sharply from the 36,000 MW set in 2011.

A large number of locals living near the 1,244-MW coal-based power project, Vinh Tan II, in the central province of Binh Thuan gathered at the site in April last year to protest against the dust pollution caused by the plant.

The latest plan cuts targets for wind energy development to 800 MW by 2020, lower than the 1,000 MW set in the 2011 plan. At present, wind farms nationwide generate about 140 MW, according to the government.

 
 
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