Vietnam seeks investors for waste to power plants
VietNamNet Bridge - About 76,000 tons of waste is discharged every day in Vietnam, 80 percent of which is carried to landfills. It is estimated that the  7,000 tons of solid domestic waste dumped daily in HCMC could produce 1 billion kwh of electricity a year.

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Vietnam, with a relatively small land area, could convert waste into power, especially from waste at landfills in large cities which are nearly full, according to Saku Liuksia from Finpro from Finland. 

With the population increasing, power demand is expected to increase by 45 percent by 2030. Vietnam plans to increase the proportion of clean power to 7 percent of total electricity output by 2020.

While generating power from waste is a growing tendency in developed countries, Vietnam is still wasting that kind of energy. 

It is estimated that HCMC has to spend VND2.2 trillion a year on waste management. This includes VND1 trillion to treat waste at dumping grounds. 

About 76,000 tons of waste is discharged every day in Vietnam, 80 percent of which is carried to landfills. It is estimated that the  7,000 tons of solid domestic waste dumped daily in HCMC could produce 1 billion kwh of electricity a year.
About 95 percent of waste is carried to landfills to the dump, while the waste should be converted into power for economic development. Dumping must not be the solution to environmental protection.

Vietnam began thinking of turning waste into power some years ago, but the idea still cannot be implemented on a large scale because of problems, from the complicated administration procedures to low electricity prices, which cannot attract investors. 

David Duong, general director of the Vietnam Waste Solution (VWS), said the investment rate for the projects to turn waste into power is very high, but the earnings are not high enough to cover expenses. 

He said the electricity price is not high enough for investors to break even, while the waste treatment fee is low. 

Meanwhile, the procedures are complicated and the policies on encouraging investors to pour money into the sector are not open enough.

Duong said that four years ago, he planned to invest $87 million in a plant to treat hazardous waste with the capacity of 800 tons a day. 

However, the project was rejected by local authorities. The reason was that the plant may create a monopoly because of its high capacity, which is higher than the total amount of 600 tons of hazardous waste in the city.

Opening a representative office in 2008, Valmet is now running four cooperation programs with Vietnamese partners on generating power from waste.

Esko Koivisto from Valmet wants the government to subsidize or raise waste treatment fees and prices for electricity generated by waste treatment plants. If the government agrees to the proposal, more investors will come to Vietnam to develop renewable energy projects.

Kim Chi
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