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Jun 25, 2022 / 11:54

Vietnam – Germany, dynamic duo for energy transition: GIZ

Germany helped Vietnam initiate its Smart Grid roadmap in 2017 when the Southeast Asian country did not yet have a complete energy transition concept and had not yet committed to net zero.

Germany has a strong interest in supporting sustainable development in middle-income countries such as Vietnam, focusing on policy development, capacity improvement, and the promotion of technology cooperation and transfer.

 Smart Grid in Vietnam. Photos: GIZ

The idea has been raised by Tobias Cossen, Programme Director of the GIZ Energy Support Programme (ESP), a partnership established in 2013 between Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH after the two countries listed energy one of their cooperation priorities since.

ESP, which focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, aims to contribute to Vietnam’s emissions reduction strategy and green growth strategy by improving the existing regulatory framework for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency to foster private sector investment and by increasing the professional and organizational capacities of key institutions and stakeholders.

Among the projects, Smart Grids for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SGREEE) project was conducted by the MOIT’s Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV) and GIZ.

Tobias Cossen said SGREEE has brought in international experiences and know-how to help Vietnam make a better and more relevant roadmap as it aims to promote the modernization and automation of the national power transmission and distribution system.

Vietnam has undeniably been successful when implementing the Smart Grid Roadmap in 2012 after 10 years of implementation. “Now is an opportune time for the strategy to be reviewed and improved to adapt to today’s available technologies and business models,” Cossen said.

 Markus Bissel, Director of GIZ’s SGREEE project, speaks at the closing ceremony held in Hanoi on June 23.

According to Director of GIZ’s SGREEE project Markus Bissel, SGREEE shows Germany’s commitment to supporting the transformation of energy infrastructure in Vietnam. SGREEE started in 2017 when Vietnam did not yet have a complete energy transition concept and had not yet committed to net zero.

The project focused on the integration of renewable energy, an important first step towards energy transition, Markus Bissel said at the closing ceremony of SGREEE project held in Hanoi on June 23.

He said research during the SGREEE project has identified gaps in Vietnam’s grid infrastructure and provided a comprehensive analysis of the country’s strengths and weaknesses. “Based on this, the project has recommended state-of-the-art technologies and techniques for Vietnam to adopt.”

As a result, the SGREEE project supported ERAV in completing the legal framework for the development of renewable energy sources in the Power System and Smart Grid in Vietnam. In addition, the project achieved all agreed indicators.

Three action areas of the five-year SGREEE project include Legal and Regulatory Framework,

Capacity Development, and Technology Cooperation.

Commenting on the project, a Vietnamese expert in the electricity industry said: “We couldn’t have done it without vision, patience, collaboration and the expertise of the talented people involved.”

 Duong Manh Cuong, Senior Project Officer, GIZ/SGREEE and Henri Wasnick, Technical Advisor, GIZ/SGREEE shared the project’s results at the ceremony. 

Vietnam’s smart grids

Vietnam’s adoption of Smart Grids is a realization of a prime minister’s decision initially published in 2012 to develop a complete smart energy infrastructure that rivals those of the most advanced ASEAN nations.

The country’s Smart Grids, set for implementation after 2022, will employ Internet of Things (IoT) functionality to deliver energy efficiencies that enable Vietnam’s progress toward these targets.

Through SGREEE project, MOIT has collaborated with GIZ to upgrade the country’s power grids with Smart Grid technology, which will optimize energy efficiency as Vietnam

ramps up production of renewables and other energy sources to power its rapid development trajectory.

Talking about Vietnam’s energy transition, Markus Bissel said: “It faces a multitude of challenges as it moves in the field of tension between energy-intensive industrial growth goals, socio-economic goals, and CO2 reduction goals.”

Mentioning the project’s influences on the future of Vietnam’s energy sector, he said the project has succeeded in bringing the personnel closer to international standards in the field of a modern power grid regulator. The capacities of technical specialists and executives at the power grid

have also been strengthened, so in this process of opening the power market to new actors, necessary and sensible regulatory interventions can be implemented in a more qualified manner.

The activities and achievements of SGREEE project in general and Legal and Regulatory Framework in particular are the first contributions to Smart Grids development strategies. At the same time, they support the energy transition in Vietnam towards the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, said Duong Manh Cuong, Senior Project Officer, GIZ/SGREEE.

Former Project Officer, GIZ/SGREEE, Tran Tien Hoa shared that Smart Grid technology is new to Vietnam, so the boom in wind and solar power sources over the last several years means

that the relevant Vietnamese institutions need to learn from countries where smart grid technologies and renewable energy are already commonplace. So supporting technology cooperation between Germany and Vietnam has been a fantastic experience for experts in Vietnam.

Nguyen The Huu, Director, Power System Department, ERAV, said the SGREEE project provided a lot of knowledge, especially on detailed technical regulations of the power grid and the applicability of Smart Grid technologies around the world. It has greatly supported the development of Smart Grids and the goal of integrating renewable energy in Vietnam.