Vietnam’s coal-fired thermal power dependent on China

VietNamNet Bridge - Many of the coal-fired thermal power plants in Vietnam are Chinese invested, developed with Chinese capital and run with Chinese technology.


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A report from the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID) showed that, as of the end of last year, of 27 coal-fired thermopower plants, 14 had been built by Chinese EPC contractors. The capital for the plants, about $8 billion, or 50 percent of total foreign capital flowing into coal-fired thermal power, is from China. 

Also according to GreenID, 11 large-scale projects capitalized at billions of dollars and implemented under the BOT mode are Chinese invested. These include the $1.755 billion Vinh Tan 1 plant in Binh Thuan province invested by two Chinese enterprises which hold 95 percent of capital. The capital for the project, $1.4 billion, is provided by five Chinese banks.

The Hai Duong plant was initially registered by Jaks Resources Bhd from Malaysia, but it later transferred a 50 percent stake to Chinese CPECC Group. 

As of the end of last year, of 27 coal-fired thermopower plants, 14 had been built by Chinese EPC contractors. The capital for the plants, about $8 billion, or 50 percent of total foreign capital flowing into coal-fired thermal power, is from China. 

Duyen Hai 2, 1,200 MW, is capitalized at $2.2 billion and invested by Malaysian JanaKuasa. Huadian Engineering from China is the EPC contractor.

The Chinese are also the investors of many other projects, though they don’t hold a controlling stake in other projects. Mong Duong 2 plant in Quang Ninh province, $2.1 billion, 1,240 MW, for example, has three investors, the US-based AES Group which holds a 51 percent stake and Posco Energy from South Korea which holds 30 percent and CIC from China 19 percent. 

Experts also pointed out that Vietnam’s thermal power plants have become more dependent on coal imports. Under the seventh power development master plan, Vietnam would have to import 50 million tons of coal by 2020 and 80 million tons by 2030. The plants about to be built including Vung Ang, Vinh Tan and Duyen Hai would have to run with imported coal as domestic coal is unsuitable.

According to GDC, Vietnam imported 4.6 million tons of coal in the first four months of the year, mostly from Indonesia and Australia, worth $500 million. Experts estimated that Vietnam would need 130-150 tons of coal to generate electricity by 2030, while domestic sources can satisfy 30-40 percent of the demand.

Vietnam is dependent on both investors and input materials when developing coal-fired thermal power plants, which experts consider a high risk for national energy security.

Vu Dinh Anh, a renowned economist, warned that coal-fired BOT projects may turn into the landing field for outdated Chinese technology.

Meanwhile, Le Dang Doanh, also a respected economist, pointed out that the power demand in Vietnam has been increasing rapidly because it has been developing the electricity consuming industries such as cement and steel. 


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Mai Thanh

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