Smart Grid Week Vietnam 2019 opened on December 2 in Hanoi and features a series of conferences and workshops for government officials, national and international professionals and partners as well as associations.

Lasting until December 5, the Week will discuss trends and visions for a sustainable power system in Vietnam in the future, exchange knowledge and experience on smart energy solutions that enable high proportions of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and showcase emerging innovative technologies and applications for the power system of the future.

The Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV) at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Vietnam are hosting the Week. It is part of the Smart Grids for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SGREEE) Project, which is being jointly implemented by ERAV and GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Participants are from the Vietnam Smart Grid Development Steering Committee, MoIT, other ministries, Electricity of Vietnam and its member companies, other energy and power sector stakeholders, local and international power system experts, private companies, international development partners, research organizations, and academia. Nearly 20 representatives from government agencies, national and international companies, and research institutions will present addresses.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, ERAV’s Director General, noted that Vietnam has seen significant growth in its power sector, which has made an important contribution to the country’s industrialization, modernization, and socioeconomic development.

Developing a smart grid is the right step forward for Vietnam and after nearly seven years of implementation and application of state-of-the-art technologies, the quality and reliability of the country’s power supply have improved. Along with a general trend towards clean and renewable energy development, the application of smart grid technologies is an effective solution to integrate and operate new and renewable energy sources stably and smoothly as well as promote development and increase the proportion and efficient use of renewable energies, thereby contributing to environmental protection, national energy security, and sustainable development.

In the context of many new emerging challenges, ERAV will continue to fulfill its role as a permanent body of the Smart Grids Development Steering Committee to organize and monitor implementation to achieve the smart grid development targets approved by the Prime Minister, Mr. Tuan added.

“Vietnam has seen impressive growth in the share of renewable energies in electricity production this year,” said Mr. Sebastian Paust, Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy in Vietnam. “However, to reach a higher share of renewables, a lot of measures have to be undertaken, especially supporting the integration of solar and wind energy in the grid. In Germany, nearly half of electricity comes from renewable sources (standing at 47 per cent in the first half of 2019), mostly from wind and solar energy. At this event, we would like to exchange international experience in measures and solutions to support a higher share of solar and wind energy in Vietnam.”

After the official opening day, the second-day of the Smart Grid Week, entitled “Power System Innovation Day”, is focusing on emerging power system technology solutions for a modern and sustainable future power system. The day features two main topics: (1) Operating a power system with high shares of renewable energy, and (2) Smart Energy Solutions: Innovations and concepts for the Energy System of the Future.

On December 4, seminars will be held for knowledge exchange between power system experts and academics. The “Smart Grid Symposium Vietnam” day will have in-depth discussions and collect valuable input from experts on the topics of flexibility options for high shares of renewable energy, the impact of renewable energy on the power system, and enabling a smart grid with regulatory frameworks.

Entitled “Future Lab: Internet of Energy”, the final day will feature open discussions on visions for the power system of the future. Participants will jointly identify the challenges in Vietname’s energy system in the future and discuss how these obstacles can be overcome by solutions in information and communications technologies (ICT).

“In order to position the topic of smart grids within the attention of all relevant stakeholders, including high-level government actors, it is important to have smart grid-specific events and an exchange platform,” Mr. Tobias Cossen, GIZ’s Project Director, said. “This is the reason why ERAV and GIZ decided to implement Smart Grid Week, to have a broad program with input from both international and national experts on different aspects of smart grids. This is the first time there will be a smart grid-specific event in Vietnam. The Smart Grid Week will connect all relevant stakeholders from the public and private sectors and push the topic further on the political agenda.”

As one of the most dynamically growing economies in Asia, Vietnam faces an enormous increase in energy demand that will continue to grow in the double-digits in the coming years. Although there are constant investments in generation and grid infrastructure, reliability and security of electricity supply remain substantial challenges, especially in the 2021-2025 period, which may cause supply-demand risks.

Recognizing the great benefit in upgrading the national power transmission system, the government signed Decision No. 1670/QD-TTg on November 8, 2012, approving a strategy on developing smart grids in Vietnam (the Smart Grid Road Map). The Road Map aims to improve the quality and reliability of national power supply and improve the efficient use of electricity.