Green Development: Renewable Energy Highlighted

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SaigonTimes English - 30 month(s) ago 19 readings

Green Development: Renewable Energy Highlighted

In its agenda for 2012, the Ministry of Planning and Investment is slated to forward to the Government the national strategy for green development. According to the ministry’s scheme, incentives will be given to green production, green energy, green consumption and green cities.

Green Development: Renewable Energy Highlighted

By Van Nam

A presentation of solar panels designed by the HCMC University of Technology
In its agenda for 2012, the Ministry of Planning and Investment is slated to forward to the Government the national strategy for green development. According to the ministry’s scheme, incentives will be given to green production, green energy, green consumption and green cities.

As fossil fuel is withering away, Vietnam has paid greater attention to sustainable development in which economic growth must be attached to demand both for the time being and in the future.

Among the most formidable challenges currently faced by economic sectors in Vietnam is a lack of due care for environmental protection and waste of energy.

In recent years, however, Vietnamese businesses have begun to be aware of the significance of technological renovation which helps produce lower carbon footprint and less waste. At the same time, such renovation will remarkably save energy and enhance the recycling process.

According to Nguyen Duc Cuong, director of the Center for Renewable Energy under the Vietnam Institute of Energy, the country has tremendous potential for developing renewable energy such as solar power, geothermal energy, biomass power, wind power, and micro-hydro power.

In July last year, the Government issued Decision 1208/QD-TTg on the national power development planning during 2011-2020 in which a road map for renewable energy is outlined.

Although several wind power projects have already got off the ground, investors in this business are still encountering serious obstacles. Current low unit rates have kept many entrepreneurs at bay. To tackle the problem, the Prime Minister issued last June a decision on supporting Vietnam-based wind power projects.
In line with this decision, the unit price of wind power is set at 7.8 U.S. cents per kWh, of which the State will contribute one cent via the Vietnam Environmental Protection Fund.

As regards incentives, wind power projects are entitled to import tax exemption (for imports which will form part of the fixed assets of the project in question). Wind power investments will also enjoy tax concessions as stipulated in current regulations on State development credit.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is appraising a series of biomass power projects. However, unit rates applicable to biomass power have not yet been set.

The ministry said work is under way to build a price list for biomass power production using waste materials such as husk, sugarcane bagasse and household garbage.

Nguyen Duc Cuong of the Center for Renewable Energy said renewable energy is accounting for 3% of Vietnam’s total power production. The country has set a goal that the rate of renewable energy will be raised to 9.4% by 2030. Of this, wind-generated electricity will reach 6,200MW, biomass electricity 2,000MW, and other kinds of energy some 6,000MW.

To further promote renewable energy, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is mulling over further incentives for higher education institutions nationwide so that more knowledge of and technologies in this sector can be better known. It is also projected that part of the expenses of building feasibility studies for renewable energy projects will be covered by the State budget.

A major economic hub requiring huge volume of energy, HCMC has its own schemes for developing renewable energy resources, particularly solar energy, wind power, landfill gas and biomass electricity. The city has set a target for 2020 when most of its renewable energy potential is exploited to ensure national energy security and sustainable development.

A number of businesses in the city have installed solar-powered systems to help partly reduce power consumption from the city’s electricity grid.

The municipal authorities have initiated a program for supporting production and use of solar water heaters. The program’s ambitious target is to install 30,000 solar water heaters across the city to save 57 million kWh each year. That effort will help reduce some 23,500 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. Until the end of 2013, households and companies will be given VND1 million for each solar water heater installed at their places.

In terms of garbage power, related agencies in HCMC have joined hands with scientists to do research on building plants generating power from waste collected from the three major markets in town, including Thu Duc, Hoc Mon and Binh Dien markets.

Every day, in the order of 50 tons of garbage is discharged by each of these market, and more or less VND300 million must be spent every month to get rid of the waste. Meanwhile, 95% of the garbage is organic, which is favorable for generating electricity.

According to a report by the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, a power project fueled by garbage in Indonesia capable of using five tons of garbage a day requires investment of US$340,000 and generates 550kWh a day. In Vietnam, experts estimate a similar project to consume waste from each market will need investment of US$3 million to US$4 million. If these initial programs prove to be successful, they will be taken to scale at other smaller markets in the city.

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