Offshore wind power: “The Launcher” for Vietnam’s marine economic development

Offshore wind power resources are the fastest growing invested and developed new energy source in the world today. In Vietnam, with major policies issued by the Party and State on the development of marine renewable energy (offshore wind power, wave energy, tides and ocean currents) and the EVFTA Agreement between Vietnam and the EU. Once effective, large and high-tech capital sources from the EU can easily appear in the Vietnamese market. This could be an opportunity for our country to break through to the forefront of ASEAN, promote supporting industries and marine services, and aim to export offshore wind power to the ASEAN region, as well as neighboring countries.

The necessary for breakthrough development of offshore wind power in Vietnam

Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing activities are making it more difficult for Vietnam to reach the millennium goal of ensuring economic development in a sustainable environment. Green energy development trend in the world, including offshore wind power is a breakthrough solution.

In order to have the most correct strategic orientations for the development and utilization of energy from the sea, the Eighth Conference of the 12th Central Committee of the Party issued a Resolution on the Strategy for Sustainable Economic Development of Vietnam’s marine economy to 2030, with a vision to 2045 (Resolution No. 36-NQ/TW dated October 22, 2018). The resolution has made breakthroughs in marine economic sectors of the country by 2030 in the order of priority:

1/ Tourism and sea services.

2/ Maritime economy.

3/ Exploiting oil and gas and other marine mineral resources.

4/ Aquaculture and fishing.

5/ Coastal industry.

6/ Renewable energy and new marine economic sectors.

On February 11, 2020, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong signed and promulgated Resolution No. 55-NQ/TW on orientations of Vietnam’s national energy development strategy up to 2030, with a vision to 2045, with content: “For wind power and solar power: Prioritize development in accordance with the ability to ensure system safety with reasonable electricity prices. Encourage the development of rooftop and on-water solar power. Develop supportive policies and breakthrough mechanisms for offshore wind power development in association with the implementation of the Vietnam Marine Strategy.”

At the same time, the Prime Minister’s Decision 2068/QD-TTg approving Vietnam’s Renewable Energy Development Strategy to 2030, with a vision to 2050 on November 25, 2015 has the following objectives:Step by step raise the rate of people accessing clean energy and electricity in rural, mountainous, deep-lying, remote, border and island areas. By 2020, most households will have electricity, by 2030, most households will have access to modern, sustainable and reliable energy services with reasonable electricity and energy prices. Developing and using renewable energy sources to contribute to achieving sustainable environmental goals and developing a green economy: Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in energy activities compared to the normal development option about 5% by 2020; about 25% by 2030 and about 45% by 2050.

Offshore wind power – endless renewable energy resources

According to the International Energy Organization (IEA), the global offshore wind power resource has the potential to reach 420,000 TWh annually, 18 times more than the current global demand.

Since 1991, with the first GHG project in Vindeby, Denmark was built with 11 turbines with 450 kW, total capacity of 5 MW at a depth of 4m near the shore and was dismantled in 2017 with more than 25 years of life.

Recently, the offshore wind power projects have been much larger up to several GW with larger turbines up to 12 MW and at great depths of nearly 200m and more than 100km offshore.

Before 2016, the investment cost of 1 MWh of wind power was up to 200 USD, but recently with the completion of legal and technology, the price has decreased to about 100 USD / 1 MWh and especially there are bidding projects in the UK in 2019 is only about 50 USD/1 MWh.

The offshore wind power market has grown continuously by 30% annually from 2010 to 2018. Currently, there are about 150 large offshore wind farms in operation and especially strongly in 2018 in the UK, Germany, Denmark, and the US, China.

Currently, Europe has installed 20 GW of offshore wind power and has a support policy to quadruple by 2030 to 80 GW. The IEA forecasts that by 2040, the global offshore wind power will have a development investment of about 1 trillion USD with an annual installed capacity growth rate of 13%. The countries, which are also centers for the development of the offshore wind power by 2040 are the EU (Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland), UK, USA, China, Japan, India, Korea, and Taiwan. The installed capacity efficiency of the offshore wind farms reaching 50% is much higher than that of solar power by nearly 20% and wind power on land by 30%.

According to the assessment of the World Bank (WB) in 2019, Vietnam has a potential of 475 GW of the offshore wind power in the sea from the shore to 200 km. Currently, Vietnam’s total power plants are 60 GW in operation with the main sources being hydroelectricity, coal-fired power and gas turbines, in which the basic hydroelectric power source is gradually exhausted, and the coal resource is not enough for electricity generation, maintain existing coal power plants. Therefore, with the potential for power generation to be many times larger than the existing capacity, it is possible to meet current and future electricity demand.

The coastal area of ​​our country, especially the southern region, has an area of ​​about 142,000 km2 with a depth of 0m to 60m, which has very good potential for developing marine wind power. According to wind speed data, this area reaches the average wind speed at an altitude of 100m reaching more than 7-10m/s.

Currently, the first Bac Lieu marine wind farm with a capacity of 100 MW has been operating, providing about 300 million kWh/year and by 2025, up to 1,000 MW or 3 billion kWh/year.

Specifically, the wind turbine farms in Bac Lieu have operated well and brought high economic efficiency, the opportunity to recover capital is about 10 years, compared to the turbine life of 50 years. The sea wind farm currently contributes to the local budget with a stable source of income, such as Bac Lieu province reaching 76 billion VND/year, when completed, the 1,000 MW wind farm will reach nearly 760 billion VND per year.

Vietnam – World offshore wind power center

In 2020, according to the forecast of the World Energy Organization (IEA), Vietnam will be one of the five marine wind power centers in Southeast Asia of the world along with Northern Europe, the US, East Asia and South America. Currently, as of September 2020, we have a total of 67 promising nearshore potential power projects, with a capacity of nearly 10 GW and 14 offshore wind power projects with a total capacity of nearly 30 GW, which means the total number of upcoming projects will be 40 GW.

Currently, the world’s largest project of Thang Long offshore Binh Thuan with a capacity of 3.4 GW has completed the first phase of wind measurement (2019-2020) and will enter the second phase (2021-2025). building and generating electricity into the national grid. The 3.5 GW offshore wind power project La Gan is in the process of feasibility study from 2020 and can be completed before 2030, which will bring Vietnam the status of the offshore wind power with a position in the top 5 for Vietnam. Currently in 2019 Vietnam is ranked 8th in the list of countries with offshore wind power.

Ranking of offshore wind power developing countries, 2020 (by MW capacity):

Ordinal Nation 2016 2017 2018 2019
1  Anh 5,156 6,651 7,963 9,723
2 Germany 4,108 5,411 6,380 7,493
3 China 1,627 2,788 4,588 6,838
4 Denmark 1,271 1,268 1,329 1,703
5 Belgium 712 877 1,186 1,556
6 Netherlands 1,118 1,118 1,118 1,118
7 Switzerland 202 202 192 191
8 Taiwan 0 8 8 128
9 Vietnam 99 99 99 99
10 Japan 60 65 65 85

List of 14 offshore wind power projects in the sea of ​​Vietnam with a capacity of more than 500 MW:

Ordinal Project Capacity (MW) Province
1 HBRE Ba Rịa – Vung Tau 500 Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu
2 Đông Hải Wind farm 5.1 1,500 Bạc Liêu
3 Đông Hải 1 phase 3 Wind farm 550 Bạc Liêu
4 Cluster of offshore wind power plants in Binh Dai district 1,000 Bến Tre
5 Gulf Ben Tre 3 Wind Power Farm 2,300 Bến Tre
6 Thien Phu Wind Power Farm phase 2 500 Bến Tre
7 Thang Long Wind Offshore

(The Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued Document No. 4556/BCT-DL dated June 24, 2020 to report to the Prime Minister for consideration in the Power Planning 8)

3,400 Bình Thuận
8 Lagan offshore wind power 3,500 Bình Thuận
9 The offshore wind power of Binh Thuan is represented by Xuan Thien Ninh Binh Co., Ltd 5,000 Bình Thuận
10 Ca Mau 2 wind power 2,000 Cà Mau
11 Offshore wind power cluster in Ninh Thuan province 4,386 Ninh Thuận
12 Gulf-Tra Vinh offshore wind power 1,000 Trà Vinh
13 Truong Thanh Tra Vinh wind power 2,000 Trà Vinh
14 Xuyen Moc Wind Power 760 Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu
Total capacity 28,396

It is necessary to have a breakthrough development strategy, to pilot offshore wind power development

Offshore wind energy resources are the fastest growing invested new energy source in the world today. Wind energy at sea is converted into electricity by wind turbines and built with a longer lifespan, suitable for harsh conditions at sea. On the other hand, there will be attractions, study tours, “god eyes” to help strengthen the protection of national security and sovereignty at sea.

In particular, with major policies issued by the Party and State such as NQT 55, NQT 36 on marine renewable energy development, the offshore wind energy, wave energy, tides and ocean currents, and the EVFTA Agreement between Vietnam and the EU has effective from 2019, large capital sources and import-export technology from the EU can easily participate in the development of import-export in Vietnam. The convergence opportunity is enough for Vietnam to have the potential and breakthrough to lead ASEAN, and become a major import export center of the world and promote the supporting marine industries and services and the future export of the offshore wind energy to the ASEAN region and surrounding area.

To do this, national the offshore wind power policies are needed:

One is: It is necessary to develop a national strategy for the development of the offshore wind power as soon as possible.

Second: There must be a marine spatial plan for the development of Vietnam’s the offshore wind power in conjunction with the National Action Plan on the roadmap of steps to develop marine wind energy to 2030, with a vision to 2045.

Thirdly: Building, supplementing and perfecting the national institutional and policy framework on licensing, appraisal, environmental impact assessment, marine lease, development of the offshore wind power and other marine energy projects.

Fourthly: Building and updating the national database on the offshore wind power.

The fifth is: Electricity purchase price policy, national grid connection, sea surface rent policy, national carbon tax policy.

Sixth: It is necessary to have a scientific research program on the offshore wind power, human resource training and technology transfer.

Seventh is: Integrated project of marine economic development based on the offshore wind power; Project on supply chain of services, supporting industries and human resources serving marine wind energy.

Eighth: Develop and issue specific mechanisms and policies for offshore wind power projects with a capacity of more than 500 MW.

Ninth is: Strengthening international cooperation in scientific research, testing new marine renewable power technology; at the same time, integrate marine economic sectors and marine renewable energy, join members of the International Organization for the offshore wind power, the World Ocean Energy Organization./.