The approval of National Power Development Plan VIII (Plan VIII) on May 15 has won loud applause from experts.
Ha Dang Son, Director of the Centre for Energy and Green Growth Research, opines that Plan VIII would help Vietnam move one step closer to its net-zero targets as it provides for the phase-out of thermal power plants toward 2030.
Another worth-noting green provision involves renewable energy, which is set at 70% of the country’s power mix by 2050. The provision, he believes, would give fresh impetus to the country’s just energy transition.
“The Ministry of Industry and Trade has aligned the plan with Vietnam’s commitments in COP26 and JETP Political Declaration to pursue a dual goal of power security and green transition,” said Son.
The director also praises the plan for its provision for new power grids in the Central Region and Southern Region, which would allow for more renewable energy plants to engage in the system.
Ngo Tuan Kiet, head of the Institute for Energy Technologies, opines that Plan VIII would help accelerate energy projects in progress, reducing the risk of power shortages between 2025 and 2030.
Another good point of Plan VIII is that it is more flexible than the previous plans, giving policymakers more elbow room to pursue the dual goal.
The head also reveals that his institute was picked as an adviser to the Ministry of Industry and Trade during the formulation of the plan. From April 2022 to April 2023, the ministry was actively revising its drafted versions to keep the plan in line with the latest developments in the world.
“The ministry has incorporated into the plan a vision for energy hubs that would produce green power for not only domestic consumption but also exports,” said Kiet.
Economist Vo Tri Thanh told Vietnam News that the timely approval of Plan VIII would reduce the policy uncertainty perceived by investors, giving a boost to the economy across the board.
“Plan VIII would pay the way for a more competitive power market,” said Thanh.
Against a backdrop of complicated geopolitical conflicts and fast-paced technological advancement, the plan would require unconventional ways of implementation to get its results within such a short time frame.
Analysts from the Vietnam Energy Magazine opine that several novel mechanisms introduced by Plan VIII are essential for the country’s transition to green energy, including carbon taxes and energy bids.
However, they believe that the list of mechanisms is not exhaustive. They call for another mechanism to be added to the plan, which would serve as a catalyst for the phase-in of offshore wind energy in the country.
They also call for specific favourable policies to speed up slow-paced projects, such as Ca Voi Xanh and Long Phu, to have them completed on schedule.
“We need to conduct more studies on a mechanism for direct power purchase. The absence of such a mechanism has been a major hindrance to the growth of renewable energy,” said an analyst./.