Last update: 07:30 | 04/12/2017
There are 12 operating thermal power plants
Ngo Duc Lam, an energy expert from VSEA (Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance), has applauded the government’s resolution on developing the Mekong Delta in a sustainable way by restricting coal-fired thermal power.
No more coal-fired power plants will be designed for the Delta, except the 14 plants mentioned in the seventh plan on electricity generation development.
However, under current law, the development plan is reconsidered once every five years. Lam hopes Plan 7 will be reviewed by 2020 and some coal-fired projects may be excluded. By that time, solar and wind power will be cheaper.
At the COP 23, dozens of countries decided not to use coal for electricity generation by 2030, while France has committed to close all coal-fired plants in three years.
“Some people persist in their opinion that Vietnam still needs to develop coal-fired thermal power because Vietnam has no other choice. However, they are going against the growing tendency in the world,” he said.
However, the production costs of coal-fired and renewable power plants are the same if counting the expenses the state and people have to pay to fix damages to the environment caused by coal-fired plants.
A carbon tax is the best solution to stop the development of coal-fired plants and encourage the development of renewable power plants.
Lam suggested that Vietnam should follow European countries and impose a carbon tax on thermal power plants. This is the fee the users of fossil fuels have to pay for carbon dioxide they emit into the atmosphere.
Vietnam imposes an environmental tax on coal-fired plants. However, Lam heard from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) that the ministry is considering imposing a carbon tax from 2018 as well.
Leaders of developed countries promised to help Vietnam develop renewable energy. Meanwhile, foreign donors affirm they won’t support the development of coal-fired thermal power.
Lam believes that a carbon tax is the best solution to stop the development of coal-fired plants and encourage the development of renewable power plants.
“Once investors find it less profitable to develop thermal power, they will rush to invest in renewably energy,” he said. “If so, renewable energy will be able to develop rapidly, even without state subsidization.”
There are 12 operating thermal power plants, which consume 8.7 million tons of coal and emit 17.5 million tons of CO2.
By 2030, when the number of plants rises to 70, they will consume 162 million tons of coal and and produce a huge amount of waste.