Task2 - Environment >> Vietnam Going Green with Solar Power

"Vietnam Going Green with Solar Power"

Getting the right energy mix is a significant responsibility that all governments around the world are faced with. Vietnam is no exception, and planning has become increasingly important after the administration decided not to go ahead with building nuclear power plants.

Numerous projects to build large solar power facilities are underway in Vietnam as the country scrambles to make up for the anticipated power shortage due to the recent cancellation of nuclear power plant construction projects.Thien Tan Group will, by 2020, spend $2 billion to build five large solar power plants in the southern province of Ninh Thuan. A 50 megawatt solar plant will start operating this year, followed by four plants generating 200-300MW each. The initial five solar plants will generate an estimated 1 gigawatt, which is equivalent to the total power output of a nuclear reactor.

The Vietnamese government had planned to build two nuclear power plants with assistance from Russia and Japan in Ninh Thuan province. Japanese nuclear power plant manufacturers and power companies aimed to win contracts, but the plan was cancelled in November 2016 due to the substantial up-front costs of several billion dollars per reactor. Ninh Thuan Province, which is blessed with ample sunshine and lots of unused land, is highly suitable for solar power generation. The province is trying to attract solar power as an alternative to nuclear. Ninh Tuan plans to develop 4.85GW worth of large solar power plants by 2030.

In addition to these renewable energy developments, TTC Group has also decided to tap into the solar power generation business. By 2020, the sugar, energy, real estate and tourism corporation will build 20 large solar power plants in Vietnam's sunny southern provinces including a 320MW plant in Tay Ninh Province and a 300MW facility in Binh Thuan Province. Power generation capacity will reach 1GW by 2020 when these large solar power plants begin operating. The total investment amount is estimated at $1 billion, which includes the construction of wind power generation facilities. Khanh Hoa Province is also developing solar power plants generating 120MW of power which will be operated by Vietnam Electricity. These plants are forecast to start operating in the near future.

The government is trying to promote solar power generation as the country's main source of electrical power. Currently, solar power only accounts for 0.01% of total power generation capacity, but the government plans to increase the ratio to 3.3% by 2030 and 20% by 2050. It is true that solar panel prices are declining, and the government is expected to introduce a system of buying excess solar power. With such an energy exchange market in place, it is likely that solar power will eventually spread to households throughout the country.

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