Friday, 23 Aug 2019

Offshore wind power: Dutch lessons to help Vietnam ensure energy security

Updated at Thursday, 11 Apr 2019, 05:51
The Hanoitimes - Vietnam is greatly able to tap wind power potential with experience shared by experts from the Netherlands.
Lessons learned from developing offshore wind power in the Netherlands are valuable for Vietnam to meet energy needs, reports at a meeting in Hanoi have shown. 
An offshore wind farm in the Netherlands. Photo: Euractive
An offshore wind farm in the Netherlands. Photo: Euractive
The Dutch government can cooperate to create a sustainable road map for offshore wind projects with specific stages from setting electricity systems, Hans De Boer, president of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO/NCW), said at the meeting held in Hanoi on April 9. 

The official made the statement at the roundtable meeting "Offshore Wind Development Dutch Experience and Opportunities for Vietnam", which drew the participation of more than 80 Vietnamese and Dutch companies.
Netherlands' huge offshore wind capacity 

As the Netherlands is among the top five countries for research and development of offshore wind power, the Dutch government in March 2018 released its Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2030, which outlines plans for the country to reach 11.5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by the year, according to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vietnam.

Under the current roadmap, the Netherlands is constructing five offshore wind farms with a combined capacity 3.5GW by 2023. The government will start tenders for the new wind farms from 2021.

Remarkably, the country is planning to build the largest offshore wind farm on earth by 2027. The vision is so massive that the developers will have to construct a 2.3-square-mile artificial island in the North Sea to support the 10,000-turbine complex.

The proposed wind farm, spearheaded by Dutch electric grid operator, TenneT, could produce 30GW of power or enough electricity to power a city of 20 million people. That’s more than twice the amount of offshore wind power installed across the Europe today, according to Ecowatch. 

Once built, TenneT’s giant wind farm will eventually send power over a long-distance cable to the UK and Netherlands, and possibly later to Belgium, Germany, and Denmark, the Guardian reported.

Experience for Vietnam

With more than 40 years of experience in developing wind power covering onshore, offshore, and ecosystem projects, Dutch experts are willing to conduct training courses on the knowledge-to-knowledge basis to help Vietnam obtain as much achievements as possible, Hans De Boer said. 

Henk van Elburg from the Netherlands Enterprises Agency (RVO). Photo: Hanoitimes
Henk van Elburg from the Netherlands Enterprises Agency (RVO). Photo: Hanoitimes
At the event, Henk van Elburg from the Netherlands Enterprises Agency (RVO), presented an overview of the Netherlands’ offshore tender system that covers legislation, regulations, and guidelines behind the system; wind resources and spatial planning offshore; cost reduction on offshore wind energy. 

Notably, he offered three key solutions for the effective implementation in Vietnam, including government-to-government cooperation, site preparations, and knowledge sharing. 

(i) For the first issue, he set the emphasis on the government’s role in the development of wind power sector, saying that flexible policies would be good for the investors in different periods of time and in line with the global and domestic situations. 

Specifically, with the Dutch models, the government is responsible for predevelopment work process by offering competitive tender system in which tenders would be chosen basing on lowest bid price and the tender winners would receive subsidy, permit, and grid connection. 

(ii) The government offers preparatory works with site selection and environmental impact assessment; permit; wind, water, and soil studies; early development risks and costs. 

As a result, developers get no uncertainties about timeline, dimensions, location, permit, and site data. 

(iii) To tap wind power potential for sustainable growth, all projects should be conducted on the knowledge-to-knowledge cooperation basis as Dutch people keep in mind that knowledge should be shared to make it powerful and good for life, Henk van Elburg said. 

Meanwhile, Saskia Jaarsma from TenneT electricity transmission system operator (TSO), Netherlands and Germany, highlighted grid integrity and stability, necessary measures, grid codes, and reinforcement.

Vietnam’s potential 

Ratio of wind energy in Vietnam by 2020 and 2030. Photo: EREA
Ratio of wind energy in Vietnam by 2020 and 2030. Photo: EREA
According to Pham Huong Giang, deputy director of New and Renewable Energy Division at Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority (EREA) under the Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, the country’s total power capacity in 2017 was a fivefold increase from that in 2005. 

As of end 2018, its installed capacity reached 48,560MW, including 5% of renewable energy (including wind, solar, and biomass) and the country expects to raise the ratio to 9.9% by 2020 and to 21% by 2030, Giang said at the event. 
Wind power capacity alone might be 800MW by 2020 and 6,000MW by 2030. However, the registered projects at the moment exceed the planned capacity. Currently, the registered capacity of wind power hits 10,729MW. At present, the operation capacity is 197MW and 263MW is under construction. 

Wind speed along the coastal areas from Binh Dinh province to Ho Chi Minh City is about 7-11m/s. 

In terms of locality, the southern province of Bac Lieu takes the lead with 2,135MW including 401MW approved, Ca Mau ranks second with 1,450MW including 550MW get approval, Quang Tri stands behind with 1,241MW including 230MW approved. 

Giang emphasized the investment opportunities for wind power as the government in November 2018 increased the feed-in-tariff for wind energy to 8.5 US cent/kWh for onshore wind power and 9.8 US cent/kWh for offshore wind power. 

Localities in Vietnam with wind potential. Photo: EREA
Localities in Vietnam with wind potential. Photo: EREA
Do Duc Quan, deputy director of EREA, stressed the importance of developing renewable energy, mostly wind power in the country of roughly 3,600 kilometers of coastline and more than one million square kilometers of sea. 

Tapping wind power potential becomes indispensable for Vietnam to ensure energy security for economic growth and drawing investment in the course of exhausted domestic fossil fuel, uncertain global oil prices, and heavy reliance on the world’s situations, he said. 

But developing renewables, especially offshore and onshore wind power remain much to say, according to Nguyen Anh Tuan, director of Renewable Energy Department, Institute of Energy. 

Tuan said Vietnam has issued regulations on environmental assessment for renewables but no rules for offshore wind yet. 
Linh Pham
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