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Vietnam to license three more coal-fired power plants in June

Released at: 21:03, 25/05/2017

Vietnam to license three more coal-fired power plants in June

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Japanese, South Korean, and Saudi Arabian investors expected to secure licenses for projects.

by Quang Huy

The Vietnamese Government will grant investment licenses to three foreign-invested coal-fired power plants costing a combined $7.5 billion early next month, foreign media cited Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung as saying.

Japanese, South Korean, and Saudi Arabian investors are expected to secure licenses for their projects ahead of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Japan next month, Minister Dung said.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, South Korea’s Taekwang Power Holdings Co. and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power will both invest $2.07 billion in a 1,200 MW thermal power plant scheduled to begin operations in 2021.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Marubeni Corp. and the Korea Electric Power Corp. will invest $2.79 billion in a 1,200-MW plant, with operations expected to also begin in 2021.

Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. will invest some $2.64 billion in a 1,320 MW plant to kick off in 2022, the ministry said.

South Korea’s Posco Energy Company has secured approval from the Vietnamese Government to build a $2.5 billion coal-fired thermal power plant in the country, with construction expected to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2026.

In a recent message to the power industry, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said thermal power will be the mainstay of Vietnam’s electricity supply over the next two decades and possibly longer.

His statement came as confirmation of Vietnam’s continued reliance on coal-fired power to keep up with demand, which will pose a number of challenges in mitigating the power sector’s environmental impact while increasing the country’s dependence on coal imports.

The country’s energy demand is expected to grow 13 per cent annually over the next four years. Energy sources such as hydropower have reached their maximum capacity while the renewable energy sector remains in its infancy and nuclear power’s steep price tag is too high for a country in which public debt is approaching 65 per cent.

According to the revised National Power Development plan, coal-fired power will account for 42.7 per cent of total energy sources by 2020, higher than the current 33.4 per cent. Historically, Vietnam has been self-sufficient in coal, but this has changed. More than $400 million was spent during the first quarter of this year on importing coal, based on recently published figures from the Vietnam Industry and Trade Information Center (VITIC).

Vietnam will have as many as 64 coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 56,325 MW by 2030. Twenty-six plants, with a total capacity of 13,810 MW, are operational and 15 are under construction.

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