Call for Wind Power to Solve Vietnam’s Summer Energy Shortage
August 20th, 2015
“If multiplied by the wind sites’ potential along Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces coastline, wind power could well be a solution for southern Vietnam’s energy shortage, as well as its coal and diesel dependence. We can easily foresee between 500 and 700 megawatts installed in the next 4 years if the financing conditions improve.” This is the view of Olivier Duguet, CEO of The Blue Circle, Singapore-based developer of wind projects in Southeast Asia.
On August 5th, EVN (Electricity of Vietnam), Vietnam’s monopolistic utility, requested Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) to boost domestic thermal coal production to avoid electricity disruption in Southern Vietnam(1).
Actually, the coal reserves at Duyen Hai 1 and Vinh Tan 2, the two largest thermal power plants in South Vietnam are running as low as 10 days of consumption. According to Truong Duy Nghia, Chairman of the Vietnam Thermal Science and Technology Society, “the South will suffer an electricity shortage if the two plants don’t have coal to run”.
While the power demand in Vietnam could reach 473 million kWh a day in August, lower than the peak demand of 536.8 million kWh reached in July 3rd, EVN announced the suspension of gas supply for Ca Mau 1 and Ca Mau 2 power stations for scheduled maintenance from 16 to 26 August (2). The two gas fired power plants have a total combined capacity of 1,500 megawatts and their temporary shut-down will force EVN to boost the 3,600 megawatts O Mon diesel thermal power plants production to specifically supply South Vietnam.
Electricity demand in Vietnam is forecasted to increase by 11.4% per year for the period 2016-2020 and the peak demand to reach 800 million kWh in 2030. The Master plan VII sets renewable energy target at 5.6% of total primary energy consumption by 2020 and 9.4% by 2030. Within renewables, the Government’s target for wind power is 1,000 megawatts installed by 2020 and 6,200 megawatts by 2030.
The power situation will be very tense in South Vietnam until the end of August following potential pollution of the UNESCO World Heritage site Ha Long Bay from floodwater runoff of open pit coal mines earlier in the month.
Thousands of tons were swept away by torrential rains in the Quang Ninh province, impacting also the coal-fired power plant in this Northern province. Coal has also been linked in April with population protests against air pollution by the power station in Vinh Tan Commune in Southern Binh Thuan province, leading to the Province’s Chairman official concern(3).
Far from environmental disaster and power disruption, wind energy could be a useful complement to balance the grid, lower fossil fuel consumption as well as CO2 emissions.
On its two sites under development in Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces, The Blue Circle has two wind measuring mast installed. Given the wind speeds recorded between July 7th and August 7th on these two met masts, the Singapore-based wind engineering team has assessed that an installed wind power project would have produced 18,200 MWh during the last month, according to the two sites’ expected sizes and conditions.
Although the summer months usually experience lower wind speeds in Southern Vietnam, the actual location of The Blue Circle wind projects, very well exposed to Southwest winds, would produce enough electricity to power a city of 200,000 inhabitants(4).
According to International Energy Agency 2011 Vietnam electricity consumption per capita estimates, www.iea.org
About The Blue Circle
The Blue Circle is a developer of wind and solar energy projects in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. The Singapore based company looks to bridge the gap in project development in the Southeast Asia region by bringing international project development experience, financial expertise and capabilities together with local market understanding. Its growth strategy is twofold: through the development of its own projects and through acquisition or partnership with local developers. By being vertically integrated, The Blue Circle can identify green field sites, pursue project development milestones up until financing and operating of the generating assets.