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|Japanese power plants are going up to keep on the lights in Vietnam|
Japanese firms are currently negotiating with Vietnamese ministries for the licensing of three significant thermal power plants, Nghi Son II, Vung Ang II, and Van Phong I. The three plants, with respective capacities of 1,200MW, 1,200MW and 1,320MW, are expected to become operational between 2018 and 2021.
During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s official visit to Vietnam in January this year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and a developer under Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp signed the Vung Ang II BOT project investment agreement.
Located in Ha Tinh province’s Vung Ang Economic Zone, the Vung Ang II project, capitalised at about $2.2 billion, will be fuelled by imported coal. Once commissioned, the plant will provide electricity to northern Vietnam, and contribute to the nation’s energy security.
Mitsubishi is also acting as a contractor – together with Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction (Doosan) and Vietnam’s Power Engineering Consulting Joint Stock Company 2 and Pacific Corporation – for a 600MW coal fired thermal power plant in Vinh Tan IV in the central province of Binh Thuan.
Mitsubishi Corp stated on its website that electricity demand in Vietnam is expected to see a remarkable increase of more than 10 per cent per annum in the coming years, in light of the country’s annual GDP growth of 6 to 7 per cent. Particularly southern Vietnam, the country’s largest economic region, faces a critical situation in terms of its ability to adequately supply the increasing demand for electricity.
Other plans for developing power plants have been delayed, making these projects particularly important for the nation as part of its efforts to realise a stable supply of power for sustainable economic growth.
“Through these projects, Mitsubishi Corp will seek to contribute not only to a stable supply of power in Vietnam, but also to the country’s overall economic growth, while at the same time promoting the use of eco-friendly infrastructure across Southeast Asia and around the world,” Mitsubishi announced.
Meanwhile, Sumitomo – the main backer for the Van Phong I thermal power plant, estimated to be worth $3.8 billion, is seeking to obtain a BOT contract and an investment license after reaching coal supply and land lease agreements with authorities.
According to Noboru Aoki, head of the environment division at New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation, Japan’s coal enterprises are ready to transfer clean coal technology to Vietnam in a bid to reduce emissions and enhance efficiency in the power sector.
“Japanese companies hope to tout their efficiency in power generation and green technologies to set themselves apart. Toxic discharge from a steel mill construction site by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics in April 2016 raised environmental awareness in Vietnam. And more and more residents oppose coal power,” Aoki said at a recent forum in Hanoi organised by the MoIT in collaboration with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to enhance trade and co-operation in the coal sector.
He added, “Japan helps Vietnam use environmental technologies, for example by sharing experience in the operation and maintenance of thermal power plants and the handling of ash.”
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