Vietnam offshore wind power sparks influx of foreign investment: Nikkei Asia

Nikkei Asia, a news service in Japan, ran an article on January 6 saying that Vietnam's offshore wind power sparks an influx of foreign investment.
Vietnam's favorable winds are a main draw for investors in offshore wind power development. Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam's favorable winds are a main draw for investors in offshore wind power development. Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

It noted that Japanese and European companies are making major moves into offshore wind power in Vietnam to take advantage of the developing country's renewable power push.

Vietnam's favorable winds are a main draw, the article said.

According to a map published by the World Bank Group and others, there are areas off the southern coast of Vietnam where winds can exceed 10 meters per second.

Offshore wind power is generally considered viable for development at a speed of about eight meters per second.

In Southeast Asia, winds have this strong blow in Vietnam and the Philippines, while winds around Malaysia and Indonesia are generally weaker.

In addition, with a population of approximately 100 million, Vietnam is experiencing rapid economic growth and an increasing concentration of foreign manufacturers.

However, the power generation infrastructure is not keeping up with development, which could lead to chronic power shortages soon.

At the COP26 United Nations climate summit in Glasgow in 2021, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh announced plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

In the medium to long term, it will be necessary to secure energy sources to replace coal, which accounts for about 50 percent of all power generation in the country.

Meanwhile, offshore wind is expected to play a major part in the government's power generation plans. Wind power accounts for about 5 percent of the country's energy on a power generation capacity basis, but the government plans to raise this to about 30 percent by 2050.

Wind power in Vietnam is currently dominated by onshore plants operated by local companies. Since the expansion of offshore wind power generation requires both technological and financial strength, the Vietnamese government has high hopes for the active participation of foreign companies, the article noted.

It also named major foreign investors that have eyed or started offshore wind power projects in Vietnam.

Last September, Japan's Sumitomo Corp. announced the development of an offshore wind power generation project. In December, it surveyed to study routes for laying cables. The company plans to begin operations of a wind farm with a capacity of 500 megawatts to 1 gigawatt by 2030.

If the initial plans get on track, the company aims to develop further projects, including in the northern part of the country, according to the article.

Another Japanese corporation, Renova, which specializes in renewable energy, has established a development base in Vietnam.

In April, it signed a memorandum of understanding for offshore wind power development with PetroVietnam Group with plans to develop a 2 GW power plant in the future.

It is also considering developing a floating offshore power plant, in which turbines float on the ocean surface.

Renova is involved in renewable energy projects in other countries such as the Republic of Korea and the Philippines, but it has dedicated the largest number of personnel in Vietnam.

Renova has labeled the country as "one of the most important" for renewable energy development, Kei Saiki, co-head of the global business division, said.

The article published by Nikkei Asia also said Denmark's Orsted, the world's largest offshore wind power company, is leading the way. The company began looking into a project in Vietnam in 2020, signing a memorandum of understanding the next year with Vietnamese conglomerate T&T Group to develop a power plant.

T&T Group has already been expanding into renewable energy, with solar and onshore wind power plants generating 1 GW.

Orsted will incorporate T&T Group's know-how on renewable energy to further develop its projects.

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