Vietnam's high wind power potential

VIETNAM - Vietnam has more wind energy potential than Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, experts say.

A World Bank survey says Vietnam has the capacity to produce 513,360 megawatts of wind power annually. That translates into 200 times the output of Southeast Asia's largest power plant, the Son La Hydroelectric Plant in northern Vietnam, reports the VietNamNet Bridge news site.

Vietnam's renewable energy is slated to increase 5 percent under the Ministry of Trade and Industry's plan to develop alternative energy sources from 2015 to 2025. Wind and solar power is expected to account for half of that.

According to a government survey, Vietnam's land mass includes some 17,400 square miles suitable for developing wind power projects. The provinces of Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan show the greatest promise, with a potential of 800 megawatts.

The Vietnamese government is also aiming for alternative power to provide for about 5 percent of the nation's electricity by 2020.

Vietnam's first wind power plant, located in the central province of Binh Dinh, is slated for an operational launch in August, notes the Business Green Web site.

The $55 million plant has an installed capacity of 30 megawatts and has been designated a U.N. clean development mechanism carbon project, the Business Green Web site reports.

More than 20 wind power projects are under way in Vietnam, with the ability to generate an expected electricity output of 20,000 megawatts, although none are yet operational or connected to the national grid.

These connections may be boosted by a $1.47 grant from the German Organization for Technical Cooperation announced this month to help Vietnam implement a legal framework for connecting wind power projects to the national grid.

The agreement also calls for Vietnam to develop a policy regarding consultants to the country's wind power projects. This move could prove profitable to Germany, the world's second-largest wind-power generator last year, in boosting its role in advising developing countries on making the switch to wind as an energy source.

Vietnam needs to improve its policies and provide a strong legal foundation to attract more foreign investors in renewable energy, noted Gunter Reithmacher, GTZ's chief representative in Vietnam.

Switzerland-based Aerogie Plus has already tapped into Vietnam's energy market, for a $28 million diesel-wind power plant on the island of Con Dao, in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, expected to be operational in 2010.


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