Obstacles should be removed to facilitate offshore wind power development: Experts

Offshore wind power is considered a promising field and able to replace renewable energy in Vietnam but the industry is rather new and it is difficult to implement offshore wind power projects, heard participants at a seminar held in Hanoi on December 16.

The seminar entitled "Development of offshore wind power for Vietnam’s clean energy in the future" was co-organised by the Party Central Committee's Economic Commission and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

The issues that haven’t been solved for offshore wind power development include the development of mechanisms and policies, the construction of grid infrastructure as well as enhancing capacity in construction, installation and development of domestic supply chains, participants heard.

Keld Bennetsen, Vice President of Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP), the management unit of La Gan offshore wind power project, held that legal framework was a challenge in the deployment of offshore wind power projects.

Favourable mechanisms should be created to facilitate the participation of international financial institutions, he said, adding that the power system needs to be upgraded in line with the offshore wind power development plan, thereby, helping Vietnam to attract financial investors as well as international investors in expanding supply chains and promoting national value chains.

According to Nguyen Anh Dung, Deputy Director of PTSC M&C Ltd. Co, it is essential for Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) to collaborate with foreign investors when implementing offshore wind power projects in the country because other enterprises in the oil and gas industry will have the opportunity to join the offshore wind power supply chain based on that foundation.

Dung suggested considering allowing enterprises acting as general contractors as the value will be lower if they work as a manufacturing contractor or provide logistic services.

From a financial perspective, participants at the event said the attraction of investment in the offshore wind power market in Vietnam is expanding as the demand for green energy is increasing, not only in the country but also internationally. Meanwhile, financial arrangements for thermal power projects face difficulties in the context of globalisation and the adoption of measures in coping with climate change.

Patrick Jakobsen, Chief Underwriter of Denmark’s Export Credit Agency (EKF), said offshore wind power is a specific field that requires a longer and more complicated project development process than other projects, so a flexible policy is needed in financial arrangement for these projects.

He recommended offering loans for offshore wind power projects in Vietnam or having a special mechanism for power purchasing agreements to attract more investors and enhance the projects’ competitiveness.

According to Vietnam Electricity (EVN), by the end of October 31, 2021, Vietnam had 88 wind power projects that has begun commercial operations with a total installed capacity of about 4.2 GW. There are 35 offshore wind power projects which are under research and development with a total capacity of up to 60 GW.