Increasing energy efficiency together with developing renewable energy is critical for Vietnam to ensure energy security, according to experts.
|Wind power turbines in the central province of Binh Thuan. Vietnam needs to develop renewable energy to ensure energy security. (Photo: VNS)
This was highlighted at a workshop on energy security in the context of climate change during the Vietnam Economic Forum held by the Central Economic Commission on January 17 in Hanoi.
Nguyen Van Binh, Chairman of the Central Economic Commission, said climate change was a huge challenge for every country, threatening to drag down socio-economic development. Vietnam is among five countries most exposed to climate change, given its long coastline and large river basins.
Binh said climate change was increasing dependence on energy but was also seriously affecting energy supplies.
Stressing that the development of traditional energy sources was a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions, Binh said it was vital for Vietnam to improve energy efficiency and develop renewable energy for sustainable development.
“Greening the economy can boost economic growth,” Bruno Angelet, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Vietnam said, stressing the role of private investment in the process.
He said Vietnam had enormous potential for residential and industrial rooftop solar energy which could rapidly increase renewable energy supply into the grid. However, it was important to ensure the grid could absorb this additional supply.
Vietnam also needed a transitional strategy towards more sustainable energy policies and a shift away from polluting to clean energy. Citizens and industry should be encouraged to produce solar energy on their rooftops.
Still, moving away from coal could only happen step by step and could not entirely be compensated by renewables.
He also stressed the need for an energy efficiency strategy, adding that Vietnam lacked an appropriate legal framework whereas its lower energy prices simply undermine efforts to reduce energy intensity in consumption and production.
He said regulations and fiscal incentives should be applied to increase energy efficiency.
“Vietnam needs energy transition. Vietnam can succeed in this,” he emphasised. “Energy transition can be the second Doi Moi (Renewal) of Vietnam.”
According to Le Cong Thanh, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, besides promoting energy savings and developing renewable energy, Vietnam needed to seek ways to reduce reliance on energy consumption in economic development.
Thành added Vietnam would continue to study policies to promote the development of renewable energy.
Experts at the workshop also urged Vietnam to adopt cleaner fuel technologies and increase the uptake of renewable energy technology to ensure access to affordable energy.