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Vietnam has huge potential for saving energy: experts

For a developing society and economy like Vietnam’s, energy is the engine behind growth, especially in post-pandemic recovery.

 While it is important to save energy, what matters is smart consumption – correct, sufficient, and intelligent use of energy.

Vietnam’s commitments to the net-zero emission target have seen the country shifting from fossil fuels to electricity. — VNA/VNS Photo Cong Thu

The statement was made by Nguyen Anh Tuan, senior expert on energy from the Vietnam Energy magazine at a seminar on Wednesday.

Focusing on the economical use of energy, the event gathered experts in the field to discuss energy transition, renewable energy, and the solutions to ensure electricity supply during the summer months in Vietnam.

Elaborating on Tuan’s point of view, director of the Centre for Energy and Green Growth Research (CEGR) Ha Dang Son said: “Saving and using energy efficiently is the only way to go to achieve COP26 commitments and energy transformation.

“We cannot just keep chasing after demands. At a certain point when our domestic supply is no longer enough, we will be forced to import energy, even at high prices.”

All those additional costs could be a small amount for well-off households. However, for poorer families with below-average income, that would be a significant challenge in meeting their minimum, most basic living needs, Son explained. 

Vietnam’s commitments to the net-zero emission target have seen the country shifting from fossil fuels to renewables. However, renewable energy in Vietnam remains limited due to insufficient knowledge of climate change. 

The modest infrastructure to transfer electricity from renewable energy plants to different regions of the country is also a problem. 

The panel of experts at the event. — VNS Screenshot

The panel agreed that Vietnam has a huge potential for energy saving as it is now more energy-intensive than the region and the world – which means Vietnam consumes more energy to produce a unit of GDP than developed countries.

Trinh Quoc Vu, deputy director of the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development Department, under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said: “In terms of primary energy intensity, Vietnam needs roughly 400 kilos of oil equivalent to generate US$1,000 in GDP.

“This figure is around 30 per cent higher than Thailand, 60 per cent higher than Malaysia, and four to five-fold more than that of developed countries like Japan or the US.”

The reason behind this is the macro-economic structure – with heavy industries such as iron, steel, and cement production being more energy-intensive than electronic, semiconductor manufacturing processes, or tourism. 

Vu said: “In the long run, to reduce the energy intensity, we have to develop a strategy to transform to a greener macro-economic structure, with industries that require less energy and produce a lower level of carbon emission.”

Efficient use of advanced technology and better awareness also play an important part, he added. 

Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has conducted numerous campaigns and events to promote saving energy and taking conscious actions for the environment, said its deputy general director Vo Quang Lam.

He added: “Now it is necessary to develop comprehensive policies and frameworks."

“It is about shifting from encouraging to requiring businesses and people to save and use energy effectively, and that should be legislated.”

In 2020, the Government approved Directive No. 20 on the economical use of energy, which aims to save at least 2 per cent of total electricity consumption each year. 

Source: Vietnam News

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