Considered a country with great potential for solar and wind power, Vietnam continues to be one of the 12 ‘hotspots’ in the globe for coal-fired power development.
The global coal-fired power plant monitoring system’s updates on March 22 showed that the indicators in thermal power capacity, including the planning, construction and completion phases, continued declining significantly in 2017.
The decline is attributed to Chinese policies on tightening coal-fired power plant control and India’s decision to cut financing of coal power projects. The capacity expansion in other countries has slowed down to 22-29 percent from 41-73 percent two years ago.
Meanwhile, more old coal-fired plants have been shut down with 206,000 MW cut in 2009-2017. A report shows that 290,130 MW coal-fired power plants have been running for more than 39 years, the average life expectancy, and the figure would be 315,580 MW.
It is expected that by 2022, the number of old plants to be shut down would be higher than the number of plants to become operational. This will be the beginning of the period of coal-fired power development decline.
In India, the renewable power price has decreased by 50 percent in the last two years because of higher capacity. Because of financing problems, there is no electricity sale contract for 16 GW of coal-fired power, while 17 GW has been frozen at construction sites.
In the US, as of 2017, 266 coal-fired power plants have stopped operation or committed to stop operation.
Since 2015, more than 700 organizations from 76 countries have committed to withdraw investments from projects related to fossil fuel, totaling $5.5 trillion, and 58,000 individuals committed to withdraw $5.2 billion worth of capital.
The fourth survey report by Greenpeace, Sierra Club and CoalSwarm showed that Vietnam is one of 12 hot spots for the globe’s coal-fired thermopower development. No new plant was built in 2017, but many projects were proposed.
Under the seventh power development program released in 2016, Vietnam had 12,100 MW announced, 15,040 MW to be licensed, 8,750 MW licensed and 10,635 MW under construction.
A report from GreenID in 2017 showed that most projects used foreign financing, mostly from China, Japan and South Korea.
Japan had three projects listed among top 10 investment projects in Vietnam in 2017, including two coal-fired power projects, namely Nghi Son 2 ($2.793 billion) and Van Phong ($2.581 billion).
According to Takimoto Koji from JETRO office in HCMC, some Japanese investors came to Vietnam to seek opportunities to invest in renewable energy. However, the projects were unattractive to investors because of the low electricity pricing policy.