Vietnam’s northeastern province of QuangNinh, home of UNESCO-listed Halong Bay and the country’s coal reserves, suffered from heavy rains last week which led to flood the coal mines.
As a result power shortages might occur because several coal mines had to be shut down. Meanwhile stockpiles at some power plants are only sufficient for a short period. Since weather extremes are likely to happen more frequently in the future, events like this highlight the need for a more diversified power mix in Vietnam. This means reducing the reliance on coal and increasing renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass in Vietnam’s power mix.
Coal stands already for more than 20% of Vietnam’s electricity supply and it is set that the share of coal in the power mix will increase to over 50% in next 15 years. QuangNinh as the heartland of Vietnam’s coal based power sector will become even more important for a stable power supply.Currently, coal from QuangNinh supplies energy to every sixth household in Vietnam. In order to overcome the effects of the shutdowns at the coal mines from the flood-affected QuangNinh province EVN urges the public to save power.
To avoid supply problems like this Vietnam should consider using other domestic and valuable energy resources and reduce its reliance on coal and build up a wider basis for its future power production. NguyThi Khanh from GreenID said: ‘When we invest in renewable energy, we cannot only benefit from free fuels that are locally available and we will also decrease our dependency on fuel imports and price fluctuations.Coal dependence is dangerous, polluting and pushing us all on a path from which there may be no easy return.’ Hanoi based NGO GreenID has provided a wealth of research evidence highlighting the multiple benefits of renewable energy for Vietnam, as well as on the negative impacts of coal power in general.
Diversify the power mix and build up capacities of renewable energy technology will ensure energy security in the future and make a big step towards Green Growth in Vietnam. Now it is the time to rethink the current situation and lead the international development to a green future!