All options on the table for climate transition

At last week’s conference on the impact of the COP26 climate summit on green growth, Hoang Tien Phong, Director General of the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT ), stated that it was necessary to minimize coal-fired power plants with the objective of minimizing CO2 emissions; not to develop new coal-fired power plants after 2030; and consider converting some coal-fired power plant projects to liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Speaking at the conference, Pham Hoang Luong, director of Japan’s Higher Institute of Science and Technology, said, “In other countries where the ratio of thermal power to coal is low enough, these power plants are operating at minimum capacity. . Could this be the future of coal-fired power plants in Vietnam?

According to the MoIT, thermal power sources are still the main sources of electricity in Vietnam’s power system, especially coal-fired power, accounting for more than 31% of capacity and up to half of total generation, making Vietnam one of the fastest growing countries. greenhouse gas emitters per capita in the world.

Comparing Vietnam’s Draft Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8) submitted in April with the one submitted before COP26, by 2045, coal-fired thermal power capacity will decrease by 23,400 MW and LNG by 24. 350 MW, while solar, onshore and offshore wind power will skyrocket from 23,000 to 33,000 MW.

In the PDP8 project, CO2 emissions will peak over the period 2031-2035 at 231 million tonnes, then gradually decrease. By 2045, CO2 emissions will be reduced by around 175 million tonnes, or around 208 million tonnes of CO2 reduction compared to the pre-COP26 scenario.

And by 2050, emissions from the power generation sector are estimated to be around 40 million tons per year, which will make a significant contribution to meeting Vietnam’s commitment at COP26.

Replacing coal power, Vietnam is blessed with vast potential for renewable energy development. In addition to solar and onshore wind, Vietnam has one of the best offshore wind potentials in the world. Analysis by international organizations shows that around 370 GW of renewable energy generation capacity could be added by 2040 to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

“As Vietnam’s recent experience shows, this can be achieved largely through private investment. To continue this growth in renewable energy, there should be improved planning for the expansion of the electricity system and the supply and regulatory framework to ensure the lowest cost renewable energy sources,” said Rahul Kitchlu, head of the World Bank infrastructure program.

Integrating rapidly growing renewable energy capacity will require accelerated investment in the power grid. While Vietnam has been very successful in scaling up private renewable energy development, there has also been a significant reduction in renewable energy.

Up to a quarter of the renewable generation available in the central and southern regions had to be reduced or stopped, while at the same time there was a significant supply shortfall of up to 2 GW, which unfortunately led to load shedding in some northern regions. Regions.

“It’s not good for economic growth. Reducing renewables and load shedding was due to insufficient grid flexibility and capacity,” Kitchlu said, while stressing the immediate need for increased public investment in transmission and distribution networks by Electricity of Vietnam and National Power Transmission Company to upgrade power grid capacity and enhance storage capacity to improve system flexibility for variable renewable energy integration.

The energy transition will require increased investment and mitigation of impacts on electricity prices. World Bank analysis indicates that approximately $166 billion in present value terms would be needed for capital investments in the power sector by 2040 to transition in line with the COP26 target. This is about 50% more than the $109 billion estimated under the current policy scenario presented in the draft PDP8. The average price of electricity could also increase by a quarter by 2040.

“Meeting financing needs will require a mix of resources, including re-directing domestic private savings to climate-related projects, increasing public savings, and external financial support,” Kitchlu added. “Official development assistance sources may be able to provide concessional climate finance to help reduce risk and leverage private sector finance and improve the accessibility of electricity services.”

Source: VIR

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