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Jun 19, 2019 / 16:07

What does world leading consultant suggest Vietnam to unlock offshore wind potential?

First and foremost, Vietnam needs to declare its official ambitions and targets for offshore wind, according to DNV GL.

Vietnam needs to have a full assessment of offshore wind power to tap huge potential formed by its geographic advantages, according to DNV GL – the world’s leading technical authority in wind power generation. 
 
Peter C. Brun, Global Offshore Wind Segment Leader at DNV GL. Photo: World Economic Forum
Peter C. Brun, Global Offshore Wind Segment Leader at DNV GL. Photo: World Economic Forum

“We recommend the government urgently initiate a feasibility study to access the offshore wind resource for Vietnam, said Peter C. Brun, Global Offshore Wind Segment Leader at DNV GL. 
 
The government should initiate wind speed assessments, geotechnical surveys and grid connection studies on how to capture the huge offshore wind potential in Vietnam – where there are very good opportunities just outside Ho Chi Minh City – one of the big “load centers” for power demand in the country, said Peter Brun in an interview with Hanoitimes. 
 
“First and foremost, Vietnam needs to declare its official ambitions and targets for offshore wind and it would be smart to make a feasibility study to guide the process,” he emphasized. 
 
Accordingly, the government must help establish needed supportive regulatory environment for offshore wind in Vietnam. This includes detailed wind resource mapping, marine spatial planning, geotechnical studies, grid and transmission planning, among others, the expert said. 
 
Vietnam's wind power map. Photo: Global Wind Atlas
Vietnam's wind power map. Photo: Global Wind Atlas

In a presentation at the Vietnam Wind Power 2019 Conference held in Hanoi last week, Peter Brun also addressed the aforementioned necessity, noting that the development process is so far “privatized” as it marks the participation of individual developers. 
 
Speaking at the event, he pointed out a series of hurdles which must be undertaken, including large wind speed differences along the coast, high uncertainties, including those from mesoscale (a weather system of intermediate size ranging between 20 to 200 km [12 to 120 miles]) wind flow models, limited geotechnical data and sources, no grid and transmission studies/plans for connecting to load centers, and unavailable project finance.  
In order to produce bankable wind projects you need to have Met-mast (measurement tower) or Lidar wind data for at least 12 months, he added. 
 
The question coming up is how to develop a robust offshore wind plan for Vietnam. 
 
Brief on Vietnam's wind power data. Photo: DNV GL
Brief on Vietnam's wind power data. Photo: DNV GL

Peter Brun said Vietnam has very good wind resources – which can be viewed at the World Bank global wind atlas at mesoscale. It is also clear that Vietnam has very good wind resources for offshore wind – which are at least as same levels as in Taiwan strait, where Taiwan is currently installing 5,5 GW of offshore wind projects. 
 
In terms of selling prices, “the current tariff of 9,8 US cents/kWh should be fine for some projects but it would be needed to run some sensitivity scenarios for projects further away from shore, at deeper water depth and longer grid connection. Also the time frame deadline for projects no later than 2021 is simply too short for bigger offshore wind projects,” said the expert. 
 
“We strongly recommend a gradual plan with timeline for 2025 and 2030 to enable a strong offshore wind industry buildup,” he noted, explaining offshore wind is still somehow more expensive than onshore wind.
 
In terms of financial sources, Peter Brun said international finance is fully available for offshore wind in Vietnam provided the government adopts an official offshore wind policy and accepts FDI rules, provisions and international standards around such investments.  
 
Roadmap for development 
 
DNV GL, which has been involved in most installed offshore wind capacity in the world and is active with several governments and key investors in many emerging markets, is also locally present with office and local engineering and risk management services in Vietnam and will continue to be constructive and helpful partner for Vietnam to develop and exploit its natural and sustainable wind power potential. 
 
Providing industry-leading advisory services to offshore wind projects, DNV GL recommends nine steps to make Vietnam available on the global wind power map in the years to come.
 
First of all: Vietnam should accept complexity of offshore wind as many risk to manage, for example, harsh weather conditions, technology risk, political decisions, supply chain risk, vessel availability and capacity, and power prices. 

Second step: The resource should be assessed in a trustworthy way so more players get attracted to be involved in developing the asset. 
 
To do that, the government must declare its offshore wind plans; pre-feasibility should be initiated to access the potential and opportunities as well as guidance to Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) and power purchase agreement (PPA); further wind resource measurements needed (Lidars); transmission and geotechnical studies should be initiated; government tender should be launched to secure international competition and transparent regulatory setup; and commercial “risk management” will follow above mentioned actions, Peter Brun has advised. 
 
Third step: It takes time to do it right from project conception to commissioning. 
 
Fourth step: The government should understand the market risk, secure investor confidence, especially bankability of PPA as offshore wind is more complex than onshore wind.
 
The government can ease risk burden by creating stable framework conditions, including bankable PPA, grid analysis (limit offtake risk), wind resource data, geotech data, and supplier data, Brun highlighted. 
 
Fifth step: Realizing offshore wind potential is complex and huge, government authorities must play a supporting role in establishing successful offshore wind markets. 
 
Sixth step: It should understand the complex regional industrial situation and plan for it.
 
Seventh: It should learn from other successful markets like the UK, Denmark, and Taiwan.
 
Eighth: International standards are mandatory and key for successful new offshore wind projects. 

Ninth: It should use proven digital modelling tools for both offshore wind potential (by the government), site selection (the government + developers) and potentially project optimization (developers and investors), for example with “turbine architects.”