Solar Seminar - Photo:Embassy of Norway in Hanoi
Ambassador and participants Embassy of Norway in Hanoi

Solar Seminar

Ambassador Designate Grete Løchen attended and delivered the speech at the Seminar "Norwegian solutions for solar power". The event was arranged by the Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi, Innovation Norway, and the Power Engineering Consulting JSC 1 under the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN PECC1).

| Hanoi

Chairman-General Director of EVN PECC1 Dr. Pham Nguyen Hung!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

It is a great pleasure for me to be present here today and welcome you all to this Norwegian Solar seminar.

Let me start by borrowing an expression from Vietnam: Doi Moi (i.e. Reform). Since the late 80’s Vietnam has had its economic Doi Moi with impressive results; quickly becoming one of the fastest growing emerging economies, with high investment attraction. Vietnam has almost completely eliminated poverty from 58% in 1993 to 10% in 2016.

Now we need a Climate Doi Moi. Climate change is one of the most pressing global challenges today. UN Secretary General’s address to the General Assembly in September this year urged all UN member states to follow up on their commitments under the Paris Agreement with greater ambition and a sense of urgency. We have no time to loose. Vietnam is one of the countries most affected by climate change. In the worst scenario the sea level could rise up to one metre and permanently flood 40% of the Mekong Delta by 2100. Vietnam is aiming to cut 8% of its total emissions between 2021-2030. Most of the cuts would have to come from the energy sector as approximately 72% of the country’s emissions come from producing electricity.

Climate action is not just the right thing to do but also presents a tremendous development opportunity. It could enhance sustainable economic growth and create millions of new jobs. Climate action such as investing in renewable energy is nothing else than smart business.

Vietnam has significant exploitable renewable eneregy potential, solar being one them. According to a UNDP report released last week it is estimated that Vietnam can deploy 85,000 megawatt of solar PV (photovoltaic) generation capacity. Vietnam has also a large potential for saving on electricity-use, energy efficiency, with the manufacturing sector offering the largest potential for such savings. At the moment at least 10 billion USD of external capital is believed to be available, amounting to almost 50% of the total investment needed to support Vietnam’s transition to cleaner energy and energy saving.

Why choose Norway as an investor and partner in renewable energy?

We have a long history in renewable energy. Modern Norway was built and industrialized when we started to utilize our rivers and waterfalls to produce electricity more than 125 years ago. Hydropower, a renewable energy source, is still the backbone of the Norwegian power system and will remain so in the foreseeable future.

Since then Norway has continued to develop clean energy resources and from the early 1990s our country has been one of the pioneers in developing a solar PV (photovoltaic) industry. This has been possible due to the interactive cooperation in innovation between Government, Industry and Research organizations. We consider this triple interactive Innovation Model to be the main reason that a small country like Norway has been able to succeed internationally with our development of a strong Solar PV industry.

Let me briefly comment the 5 Norwegian companies present here today:

  • Scatec Solar has since its establishment in 2001, acquired extensive knowledge and experience across the complete lifecycle of solar power plants, actively seeking early entry into new markets offering Investment opportunities.
  • Ocean Sun, being a new Norwegian player in the solar sector, has introduced an efficient, low cost and durable solution for floating solar, where all system components are based on environmental friendly materials with a minimal CO2 footprint.
  • Multiconsult is an important company in the Norwegian clean energy sector being among our leading firms of consulting engineers and designers. The company has played an important role in Norway’s development and economic growth, not at least within hydropower and solar power.
  • The international accredited registrar and classification society DNV GL has currently 350 offices operating in more than 100 countries including Vietnam, and provides services for several industries including renewable energy covering technologies, financing and operation of solar projects.
  • Finally, we have Norfund here today, being the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, supplying risk capital for investments in renewable energy, food and agri-business and into financial institutions. Norfund is an active, strategic minority investor, offering risk capital and expertise to help building sustainable businesses in developing countries. Currently the company has a committed portfolio of about 2 billion USD.

Why solar in Vietnam?

  • Setting up a solar plant is faster than establishing other thermal power plants.
  • Solar is cheaper than alternatives: Solar costs have fallen 80% in the last decade and downward trend is forecasted to continue. Solar will be cheaper than coal in the next decade and of course cleaner.
  • Solar creates more jobs than alternatives: One 50 MWp solar plant creates 500-800 low-skilled construction jobs for local community. Thermal power plants mostly require highly specialized labour.
  • Solar is cleaner than alternatives: Solar has no local air emissions, doesn’t require cooling water, and uses no dangerous chemicals that can pollute surroundings.

Based on this it is a pleasure for me to see some recent positive development of the legal framework to support the Vietnamese solar market, including the new solar feed-in tariff, and the standard power purchase agreement. I have also been informed that your Ministry of Industry and Trade have added 8.000 MW of utility scale solar power projects in the National Master Plan for Solar Development, and that another 10.000 MW are in the waiting list. Expanding the renewable energy capacity and enhancing energy efficiency will definitely improve Vietnam’s energy independence, lesser expenditures on fossil fuel purchase, enhance sustainable economic growth and reduce environmental pollution and health problems due to pollution from the energy sector.

The Norwegian companies present here today are eager to look for opportunities to cooperate with local partners to develop solar projects in Vietnam.

In this context, the Norwegian Embassy and Innovation Norway, in cooperation with EVN PECC1, are very happy to organize this solar seminar.

I wish this initiative shall contribute to the development of a strong and sustainable solar business in Vietnam and an important contribution to what I called a Climate Doi Moi.

Thank you!