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Vietnam urged to stop investing in coal-fired thermal power

If Vietnam stops investments in new coal-fired thermopower projects, the total amount of coal it would consume could drop by 221 million tons by 2050.

Jakob Stenby Lundsager, adviser of the Vietnam - Denmark Energy Partnership Program, said Vietnam should stop investments in coal-fired power plants to avoid getting stuck with thermopower and depending on coal imports.




According to the expert, coal consumption has been increasing rapidly in Vietnam and will increase twofold in 2020-2030. Vietnam began importing coal in 2015.

The amount of coal to serve thermopower plants will increase by 3 times in the next 10 years and increase by 8 times by 2050. This means that three quarters of the coal to be consumed in Vietnam would be imports.

If no action is taken, Vietnam will rely heavily on coal imports commencing from 2030, because the existing coal-fired thermopower plants would keep operating for 30 more years.

If Vietnam stops investments in new coal-fired thermopower projects, the total amount of coal it would consume could drop by 221 million tons by 2050.

EOR 19, a report on energy prospects in Vietnam, designed a scenario for not building new coal-fired thermopower plant after 2025.

The amount of coal to be consumed may fall by 42 million tons by 2030 under the scenario. And if the country stopped making investments in coal-fired power plants now, the figure would be 221 million tons by 2050.

In exchange for the coal consumption reduction, the total cost of the energy system would increase by 2 percent by 2030 and 5 percent by 2050. However, the benefits of coal reduction are substantial, including a decrease in CO2 emissions, less air pollution and less reliance on coal imports.

EOR 19 also pointed out that reliance on fuel imports in the future may drop from 60 percent to 51 percent by 2030 and from 71 percent to 58 percent by 2050, if Vietnam concurrently develops renewable energy, and uses LNG and other energy saving methods to replace most coal-fired power plants.

Vicious circle

Vietnam is increasingly importing coal due to the high demand. In recent years, coal has fallen into the group of products with large imports. In 2016, Vietnam imported $927 million worth of coal, while the figure rose to $1.52 billion in 2018 and $2.25 million in 2018. It is expected that coal imports in 2019 would have the value of $3 billion.

Under the 2011-2020 national power development plan, the total installation capacity of the power system by 2030 would be 129,500 MW, of which hydropower would account for 16.9 percent, coal-fired thermopower 42.6 percent, gas-fired thermopower 14.7 percent and small-scale hydropower 21 percent. Electricity imports would account for 1.2 percent. 

Thien Nhien

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