Vietnam Starts Firing Up Idled Solar Plants to Ease Power Crunch

By Bloomberg

May 31, 2023

Vietnam is moving to start solar power projects that have been idled for years, in the latest push to ease an energy shortage this summer. 

Parts of an existing plant on the southern coast of Vietnam were approved for commercial operations on Tuesday, the first such facility allowed to produce at full capacity since the beginning of 2021, according to a posting on the government’s website. The projects were already completed, but have been in limbo for three years due to red tape.

Three separate solar projects also were approved for commercial operation for parts of their capacity.

Blistering summer weather is stretching Vietnam’s grid, with thousands of factories forced to curb consumption and the government implementing planned blackouts. Policymakers are now scrambling to find ways to boost electricity supply, either by quickly clearing completed renewable projects or bringing in liquefied natural gas imports for the first time.

Vietnam Electricity Group signed off on contracts with 40 completed renewable projects that have agreed on temporary prices as of May 30, according to its website. The state utility submitted to the country’s trade ministry for approval, the final step before those projects can start providing electricity. 

The pandemic meant developers missed deadlines to get their projects completed and connected to the grid by 2020 to 2021, and then an anti-corruption crackdown paralyzed approvals. That left dozens of completed wind and solar plants idle.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

By Nguyen Xuan Quynh , Stephen Stapczynski


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