The initial success of the wind power project in Bac Lieu province with an output exceeding initial forecasts has demonstrated that the region still has much potential for development.
The Bac Lieu wind power project, the first of its kind in Vietnam, was launched in September 2010 on an area of 1,300 hectares. Its turbines are installed on the sea surface spreading from Nha Mat ward to the coastline of Soc Trang province.
Completed 5 years later with a total of 62 wind turbines, the wind farm has a capacity of up to 100MW. Each month these turbines generate more than 16,000 MW of clean electricity to be connected to the national grid. According to investors, the figure will increase because wind power along the coast of Bac Lieu province is always predictably higher than first estimates.
Ho Minh Chanh, Deputy Director of the Bac Lieu wind power project, said wind speeds of up to 6 to 7 meters per second were initially expected but it is consistently in excess of 8 meters per second.
Dr Le Anh Tuan, an expert on climate change, said the Bac Lieu wind power plant has proven the abundant potential of wind power in the coastal areas, which hasn’t yet been properly exploited.
To Hoai Dan, the General Director of Bac Lieu Power Project, said to turn the Mekong Delta Region into a wind power center, the government, ministries, and functional agencies should redouble their efforts in this arena and develop more preferential policies.
“It’s necessary to issue more incentives focusing on interest reduction and the extension of project life cycle in order to attract more investors. We need to combine economic development with environment protection,” said Dan.
With a coastline of 700 km, wind energy is expected to become a significant advantage of the region. In addition to Bac Lieu province, 10 other wind power projects in Ca Mau, Tra Vinh, and Soc Trang provinces with hundreds of wind turbines have been granted investment certificates.
Experts on climate change said Vietnam has great potential for renewable energy including small hydro-power, wind, biomass, solar, and garbage. Vietnam, a country of more than 3,200 km of coastline, likely has a potential wind power area of 2,700 km2. But currently the development of wind power hasn’t been on par with its potential.
Climate change expert Ky Quang Vinh said “A recent survey shows that Vietnam’s long coastline can generate about 500,000MW. This is an excellent prospect for the development of Vietnam’s wind power.”
According to wind energy experts, wind power is one of solutions needed for the development of renewable, clean energy in Vietnam. Vietnam has forecast that, that electricity generation using renewable energies will account for 6.5% of the power structure by 2020, of which wind power capacity will reach 800 MW by that year and 6,000 MW by 2030.
Professor Nguyen The Mich said to date the total capacity of wind power plants has averaged only 200 MW, which falls short in the context of future goals.