Vietnam Moving From Coal To Renewables

National Economy

The population of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) is approximately 98.36 million people[1]. In 2019, 99.4 % of the people in this Southeast Asian country had access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Vietnam’s economy was ranked 45th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[4] of broadcasting equipment, telephones, integrated circuits, footwear, coconuts, cashews, cinnamon, and sea food.

Environment Policies

In 2016, Vietnam signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to an 8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to a business-as-usual scenario.

In 2020, state utilities used coal (52.9%),  renewable energy (31.0%). natural gas (15.7 %), and oil (0.4%) to generate the country’s electricity[6]. Hydropower, solar, and wind were the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Vietnam.

In 2019, the Vietnamese government announced a plan[7]. to is to increase electricity output generated from renewable energy from 58 Billion kWh in 2015 to 186 Billion kWh (320%) by 2030.

Recent renewable energy projects in Vietnam include:

  • 831 MW Solar Project – In November 2020, the Vietnamese energy consortium, Xuan Thien Group commissioned the first phase of the Xuan Thien Ea Sup solar project in Đắk Lắk province.
  • 450 MW Solar Project – In October 2020, the Vietnamese construction company, Trungnam Group commissioned the Trung Nam Thuan Nam solar project in Ninh Thuan
  • 350 MW Offshore Wind Project –People’s Republic of China construction company, CGGC and the Vietnam Construction Trading Corporation are continuing work on an offshore wind project in the intertidal zone of Ca Mau province.
  • 90 MW Wind Project – The Irish renewable energy company, Mainstream Renewable Power is continuing work on the Thai Hoa wind project in Binh Thuan province. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 75 MW Offshore Wind Project – In August 2021, Spanish renewable energy company, Siemens Gamesa commissioned the Tan Thuan offshore wind project in the intertidal zone of Ca Mau province.
  • 75 MW Wind Project – Mainstream Renewable Power is continuing work on the Tan Thuan wind project in Ca Mau province. The wind farm is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 70 MW Floating Solar Projects – In December 2020, Vietnamese power company, Toji Group commissioned two 35 MW floating solar projects on separate lakes, in Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu province.


In the 1990s, hydropower was the dominant source of electrical power in Vietnam. As the country’s economy grew and the population increased, Vietnam’s demand for power steadily increased.

Vietnam met the increasing electrical power demands by building coal-fired power plants. In 2020, Vietnam imported 54.8 million tons of coal from Australia, Indonesia, and the People’s Republic of China.

In 2020, imported coal cost Vietnam U.S. $3.7 billion, which negatively impact the country’s economy. The use of coal-fired power plants has also created toxic air pollution in of the country’s industrial regions.

In 2021, Vietnam is rapidly developing the country’s vast offshore wind, solar, and biomass renewable energy resources. Vietnam is now rapidly moving from coal to renewable energy.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


[1] Vietnam Population (2021) –  August 31, 2021,

[2] Vietnam – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] OEC – Socialist Republic of Vietnam

[5] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] Our World In Data, Vietnam:  Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[7] McKinsey & Company, “Vietnam’s Renewable Energy Future” by Matt Rogers, May 1, 2019

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