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Vietnam is going green

Renewable energy is in fashion in South-East Asia! This is clear from several events organised here in the last few weeks, particularly in Vietnam and Singapore:
– The 3rd CEEA (Clean Energy Expo Asia) event at the start of November
– The 4th SIEW (Singapore International Energy Week) event two weeks ago
– The 5th ENVIRO ASIA (International Environmental Technologies Exhibition & Conference) event which will take place in Singapore from 22nd to 25th November.

In Vietnam, €uroCham (European Chamber of Commerce) organised the second GreenBiz event in mid-September and a “Business Luncheon” to discuss the theme of “energy efficiency” on 1st November.

–> What is the current situation inVietnam and what does the future hold?

A limited area for action

There are real problems concerning energy use in Vietnam: in the second half of the 90s, demand for energy increased 30% faster than the GDP. From 1988 to 2008, primary energy consumption increased by 2.5 times, final energy consumption by 2.4 and commercial energy consumption by 10.7 to reach around 66 billion kilowatt hours in 2008.

Vietnam is rich in renewable energy sources which include solar energy as well as small hydroelectric plants, biomass and wind power. However, most of these technologies are not used in rural and mountainous areas; the main reason for this being the very high cost of production.

Overall, according to the Vietnamese Institute for Energy, renewable energies are used very little, mainly because of a lack of financial incentives from the state. Renewable energies contributed only 2.3% to electricity production in 2005.

Interesting initiatives for the future of energy in Vietnam

To meet Vietnam’s economic development needs, the country has to produce an extra 25-30% of the volume of electricity in the coming years and therefore diversify its investments, particularly in the area of non-carbon based energy.

As a result, a national renewable energy plan has been in place since 1999. According to the national electricity development plan, the production of electricity via renewable energy should reach 5% in 2020. According to estimates made by the Vietnam Electricity group (EVN), wind power production could reach 513,000 MW in 2020.

In February 2011 the Hanoi development project was launched. This involves re-developing two villages to create a miniature town of around 180 hectares and to integrate green technologies such as air-conditioning systems using renewable energy, waste recycling and rainwater collection points. Initially the zone aims to accommodate the 6000 residents of the 2 villages on the outskirts of Hanoi although the number of residents could rise to 20,000 once the project is finished after 10-15 years of work. Hanoi: future destination for green tourism?

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