VietNamNet Bridge - HCM City plans to promote strongly the development of renewable energy over the next decade.
The municipal Department of Industry and Trade has completed a power development plan up to 2015 with a vision to 2020, in which particular focus is given to the wind and solar power generation, as well as generating power from waste processing.
A plant to generate electricity by burning waste will be built in the city's Southwestern solid waste management complex in Cu Chi District by 2015. The plant will have a capacity of 40MW.
The plan estimates total investment for the city's power development until 2015 at more than VND20.9 trillion (over US$1 billion), in which more than VND1 trillion (nearly $52 million) will be spent on developing renewable energy.
The plan aims to keep pace with the city's power needs as it grows at a rate of 12 per cent in the 2011-15 period and at 11 per cent in the next five years (2016-20).
The city generates more than 7,000 tonnes of waste every day and it costs over VND235 billion ($11.4 million) to treat it, according to the department.
The department is conducting a feasibility study for building plants to incinerate organic waste collected from the three wholesale markets in Thu Duc, Hoc Mon and Binh Dien.
Each day, the wholesale markets in the city discharge around 50 tonnes of waste which costs the management board about VND300 million ($14,500) a month to collect and deliver to the waste treatment centres.
As much as 95 per cent of the waste discharged from the wholesale markets is organic, which is very suitable for producing gas to generate power; and the project is expected to help cut the cost of collecting waste from these markets.
The estimated cost for building a power plant for each market is about $3-4 million, the Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon (Sai Gon Economic Times) reported. The plan is to build plants for the three wholesale markets first and if they are successful, replicate them in other markets in the city.
The city also plans to use solar energy to operate its entire public lighting system, which will allow it to save more than 73 million kWh of electricity each year and, at the same time, reduce considerably the amount of carbon dioxide emissions by using less fossil fuels to generate power.
A VND1.2 billion ($58,200) project is underway to build wind-measuring stations from which data will be collected over the next two years. This will serve as the basis for planning wind power production in the coastal district of Can Gio.
The district's Can Thanh, Ly Nhon and Thanh An towns have been identified as having good potential for renewable energy development.
Thanh An Island, which is not connected to the national power grid, is seen as the area with the highest potential for developing wind power, given its stable wind speeds, according to the Thoi Bao Kinh Te Sai Gon.
Wind power is expected to generate 3.5 million kWh a year through a minimum of eight 1.5MW turbines that will be installed in Can Gio.
Wind energy is expected to play an important part in the Government's plan to increase the share of renewable energy from 2.5 per cent in 2009 to 5 per cent in 2020.
Viet Nam has a total potential wind power of 1 million MW and it is expected to develop 12,000MW of wind power by 2020, equivalent to 3 per cent of the country's total output, according to the Country Manager of GE Energy Viet Nam, Nguyen Xuan Thang.
To promote the use of solar power in Can Gio, the HCM City Power Corporation has installed solar panels in Thanh An's Thieng Lieng Village that provide power to more than 200 households. Each household gets an average of 50kWh from solar power each month.
Solar power is getting easier to generate the cost of equipment and installation has decreased considerably. Each kW of solar power costs $3,000 to generate compared to $10,000 three years ago.
Despite the city's efforts to promote energy efficiency and the use of green power, the notion is yet to become popular because of poor knowledge and awareness of its importance.
There is no State-owned office in HCM City that uses solar power. There are very few private companies and individuals who have invested in the solar power technology, according the city's Department of Industry and Trade.
The biggest challenge in implementing the policy on power saving and energy efficiency was the low public awareness, said the head of HCM City Institute of Physics' Solar Power Technology Office, Trinh Quang Dung.
Business owners were not willing to practise energy efficiency despite the savings involved and consumers did not have much choice when it came to energy-efficient products. The Ministry of Industry and Trade had been labelling products that are energy-efficient, but these were a handful, reported the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.