Clean power potential energizes US investors

09:22 | 21/07/2017 Energy

(VEN) - Vietnam has great potential for wind and solar power and wants US investment in clean and renewable energy development, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a meeting with former US Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to Vietnam.

Intel factory in the Saigon Hi-Tech Park

The former Secretary of State proposed promotion of bilateral cooperation in energy, including clean and renewable energy development, and said he hoped Vietnam would adopt attractive policies for US investors in this field. He said he had talked with the World Bank and some international financial institutions, which are willing to assist Vietnam in this area.

Attracting US investors

The recent “Meet the USA 2017” conference in Ho Chi Minh City indicated interest on the part of US companies in clean and renewable energy investment in Vietnam.

According to Jonathan L. Moreno, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Vietnam, AmCham and its partners wrote a “Made in Vietnam Energy Plan”, which provides a roadmap of necessary reforms to attract American investors, equipment suppliers, manufacturers, and operators. The plan highlights the speed, low risk, and economic efficiency of utilizing renewable energy resources, natural gas, and energy-efficient technology in Vietnam to meet the growth in energy demand. The plan also lays out a roadmap to energy security in Vietnam from 2018 to 2030.

Le Hoai Quoc, head of the Saigon Hi-tech Park (SHTP) Authority, said SHTP provides favorable conditions and incentives for park-based enterprises to use clean energy. In 2015 and 2016, Intel and Samsung launched solar energy-based electricity production systems that have helped reduce the two corporations’ power consumption at the park by 20-30 percent.

More opportunities for investors

The Prime Minister recently signed a decision on encouraging solar power projects in Vietnam, which has increased the purchase price of solar power to 9.35 cent/kWh. This is a relatively attractive price for foreign investors in clean energy production. However, US companies say Vietnam should have long-term price guarantees so investors can make capital borrowing and long-term investment plans.

A United States Agency for International Development (USAID) representative said Vietnam, from its central to southern region, has a lot of potential for clean energy production, and USAID will work with the Vietnamese government to strengthen and attract US companies’ investment in this field.

USAID is implementing two programs in Vietnam - increasing electricity efficiency in buildings by using smart products (attracting nearly 100 businesses, many of which are US companies); and the Vietnam Low Emission Energy Program (V-LEEP), encouraging businesses to use solar power and biomass energy, launched in 2015 and expected to be completed by 2020 at a total cost of US$9.374 million.

However, the USAID representative said while the Vietnamese government is generating efforts to simplify administrative procedures and renovate policies to attract investment, localities should also create a favorable environment with proper tax and land policies to attract investors to this new field.

Ngoc Thao