Vietnam to rely on coal-fired power for future decades

Vietnam will continue to rely on coal-fired power generation as its major energy source in the following decades to ensure energy security, Deputy National Assembly Chairman Phung Quoc Hien said on September 7.

Rapid growth in renewable energy like solar and wind power these years has driven many places to refuse new coal-fired projects, which caused energy shortage in Vietnam. But the country will have to face energy insecurities without coal-fired power, Hien noted.

In 2019, the share of renewables, including solar, wind and small hydropower plants, was 15.8% in Vietnam’s energy mix, compared with a 36.1% share for coal-fired power and hydropower 30.8%, according to the Vietnam Energy Association (VEA).

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh also pointed that coal-fired power will account for 36-37% of its energy supply in the new energy development plan for 2021-2030, in order to maintain its significant role in ensuring power security.

For past five years, Vietnam’s power growth slowed down to 8% averagely, while the figure was 13% during 2011-2015, showed data from a report prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The hydropower output growth also slowed from 15% to 5%, and thermal power (mostly coal-fired) growth contracted from 27% to 10%.

The report said the construction of coal-fired power plants has only completed 60% of the 2016-2020 target. Ten coal-fired projects with 7,000 MW were scheduled to put on line during the period, but all of them won’t meet the deadline this year.

The minister also said that despite the increasing share of renewables and clean energy, coal will still be the major energy source.

In July, Vietnam (including foreign-invested enterprises) imported 4.4 million tonnes of coal, up 2.57% year on year, but slumping 30.21% from 6.3 million tonnes in June. In the year to July, the nation imported 35.89 million tonnes of coal, surging 44.86% from 24.78 million tonnes a year ago.