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New Danish-Vietnamese report shows that it is economically advantageous for Vietnam’s CO2 emissions to peak in 2030

A new Danish-Vietnamese study shows that it is not only technically possible for Vietnam to meet its climate-neutrality goal by 2050, but also the most profitable of the scenarios analysed. Vietnam's CO2 emissions, however, must peak in 2030, if the transition is not to become unnecessarily expensive, underscoring a need to massively accelerate the green transformation of the energy sector now.

In recent years, strong economic growth has led to significant increase in Vietnam’s energy consumption and CO2-emissions. Being one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, it is vital that the country find ways to decouple economic growth from energy consumption and invest in renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.

To this, a line of tangible recommendations has been outlined in the ‘Viet Nam Energy Outlook Report – Pathways to Net Zero’, which is the fourth report in a series of outlook publications under the Danish-Vietnamese Energy Partnership Programme. The report presents scenarios for the development of the Vietnamese energy system towards 2050, focusing on analysing realistic pathways for Vietnam to achieve its net-zero commitment by 2050.

The report shows that the most cost-effective way to support Vietnam’s sustainable growth is through significant expansion of solar and wind power, as well as the electrification of transportation and industry.

Particularly, the report puts forward concrete recommendations on how Vietnam can achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and ensure that the CO₂ emissions peak by 2030.

With enormous potential for solar power, onshore and offshore wind, Vietnam is well positioned to transform its energy sector from fossil fuels to renewable energy and leverage its national resources. The report demonstrates how Vietnam through massive expansion of renewable energy, along with electrification of its industry and transport sectors, can secure a cost-efficient green transition and reach its target of net-zero emissions in 2050, while also reducing Vietnam’s dependence on energy imports. According to the analysis, an additional 56 gigawatts of renewable energy (17 GW onshore wind and 39 GW solar) must be added by 2030 if Vietnam is to stay on track for a carbon peak by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. Any delays in the transition will be costly, not least due to increased climate change impacts.

Integrating such vast amounts of fluctuating power generation in the power grid will require deliberate actions too. The report also shows how in the near term, the country’s coal-fired power plants must become more flexible, so that coal power can be turned down to give green power priority in the electricity supply while still providing backup capacity until storage and other solutions can be implemented.

Fulfilling Vietnam’s ambition to build 84 GW of offshore wind by 2050 requires strong commitment and immediate actions. Accelerating the issuance of a clear and predictable legal framework is particularly essential to attract the needed investments for the development of the offshore wind industry. Along this line, the report recommends that Vietnam starts designating offshore areas, preparing port infrastructure, and strengthening the power grid.

Read the report now

The Danish-Vietnamese Energy Partnership

  • The Danish Energy Agency cooperates with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) in Viet Nam through the joint Energy Partnership Programme between Viet Nam and Denmark (DEPP). The first phase was from 2013 to 2017, focusing on low carbon development in industrial and building sectors; the second phase running from 2017 to 2020 covered energy efficiency in the industrial sector, integration of renewable energy into the power grid and long-term scenario modeling of the energy sector.
  • The on-going phase three of the Danish Energy Partnership Programme (DEPP III) is a five-year program from 2021 to 2025. It includes offshore wind as a component and a work stream focused on developing economic incentive schemes for energy efficiency improvements in the industrial sector in Viet Nam. DEPP III also continues to focus on long-term scenario modeling with the biennial Energy Outlook Report.
  • The Danish Energy Agency’s Centre for Global Cooperation partners with 24 countries, accounting for more than 70% of the global CO₂ emissions. The aim is to share Danish experiences on shaping an energy system that combines a green, low-carbon and reliable energy supply with economic growth.

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