Vietnam now the aiming point of clean energy investors

Lacking energy and wishing to develop clean energy sources, Vietnam has become the attractive destination for foreign clean energy investors.

When announcing the project to build a solar panel factory in HCM City in March, the US First Solar group noted it would more profits with the low-cost solar cell technology, about 78 cent per watt.

The project by First Solar to increase the capacity from 1.4GW to 2.7GW, which is expected to create 600 jobs in Vietnam, has a total investment capital of one billion dollars. IC Energy has also set up a solar panel factory in the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone, with an investment capital of more than 390 million dollars. Meanwhile, German Roth&Rau has invested 275 billion dong in a factory in the Hoa Lac High-Tech Park.

Many other large-scaled wind power projects in Vietnam have also been kicked off. The 99MW wind power plant in Bac Lieu province has a total investment capital of 4500 billion dong. One of the biggest equipment suppliers of the project is the US-based GE Group. A project on a wind power plant in Tra Vinh province has been developed by German EAB, which is expected to have a capacity of 30MW. Meanwhile, a project in Soc Trang is expected to have a capacity of 300MW when operational.

Meanwhile, sources say that the US Cenergy Power is moving ahead with the solar energy projects in the two islands of Cat Hai and Bach Long Vi.

Investment funds jump into clean energy sector

Of the 150 million euro worth of ODA (official development assistance) capital granted by the German government to Vietnam in 2010-2011, 33 percent of the capital will be poured into the energy sector and climate change. This has helped catch more attention from foreign investors when considering investment plans in Vietnam.

Besides this, the market now has favorable conditions to develop, because a lot of investment funds, which plan to funnel capital into the recycle energy sector, have been established.

A World Bank survey on energy for Asia - conducted in 2010 - shows that Vietnam has great advantages for wind power with the total potential capacity of 500,000 MW, which is 200 times higher than the capacity of Son La hydropower plant and 10 times higher than the forecast total electricity capacity to be reached by 2020.

Vietnam has 8.6 percent of its area which is believed to have “good” and “very good” potentials to set up big-scaled wind power stations, and more than 40 percent of land in rural areas for small-scaled stations.

Meanwhile, scientists have warned that Vietnam may meet big problems in the future when electricity consumption is forecast to increase by 20 percent, while the electricity output increases by 13 percent only.

Indochina Capital has set up MRRF with capital of 50 million dollars, a fund which plans to pour money into recycling energy and environment projects. The fund also plans to mobilize 150 million dollar worth of capital from other sources which will then be injected in wind, solar power plants, small hydropower plants and energy saving projects.

Prior to that, Dragon Capital announced the establishment of the regional Mekong Brahmaputra fund which specializes in making investment in recycling energy, clean water production and waste treatment. To date, 45 million dollars worth of capital has been mobilized from financial institutions such as FMO, ADB, Finnfund and BIO, while the capital is expected to increase to 100 million dollars this year.

IFC and Norwegian SN Power have also agreed on the establishment of InfraVentures, which specializes in seeking investment opportunities in recycling energy projects. For  many years, IFC has been well known as a big investor in energy saving and clean production sectors.

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