In yet another blow for the global coal industry, Vietnam has signalled its retreat from this dirty energy source. In a statement, Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng said his government would review plans for new coal power plants, saying it will instead look to gas and renewables to power its electricity grid. The latest news comes during an increasingly bleak period for the global coal industry, which has seen China announce huge mine closures, Indian coal imports and US coal production fall and more major coal players file for bankruptcy.
— CAN-International (@CANIntl) January 25, 2016
- Vietnam’s coal exit is welcomed, but actions speak louder than words. With 50 coal projects in pre-planning, consultation or construction across Vietnam, green groups are calling on the government to back up its rhetoric by “reassessing all proposed coal plants and putting in place policies to rapidly accelerate the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency”. By favouring renewables they say the government will also ensure home-grown, reliable energy supply for communities.
- Smart governments are moving away from coal. As governments’ pledge to end the fossil fuel era is translated into “implementation and action,” increasing renewables is the best hope of putting the “Paris climate goals within reach,” marking an increasingly bleak outlook for coal. Vietnam follows in the footsteps of a host of other governments including China, the US and the UK all taking steps to move away from the dirty energy source.
- Betting on renewables, over coal, makes both economic and climate sense. Investment in renewables, and renewable energy’s market share, are bounding upwards, making countries wealthier and healthier. This leaves those governments continuing to cling to dirty coal with nowhere to hide as they find themselves facing the consequences of their dirty choices that increase damage to their economy, health and communities.
- Will it keep its commitment? (350.org)
- Vietnam to phase out coal, invest in gas and renewables (Climate Home)
Tools and Resources
- Press Release: Vietnam PM announces retreat from coal power – bold move signals further decline for global coal industry (Green ID Vietnam)
- Weblink: Global Coal Plant Tracker (End Coal)
- Report: Renewable Energy Benefits: Measuring the Economics (IRENA)
- Report: Clean Energy Investment By the Numbers – End of Year 2015 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)
- Press release: Clean energy defies fossil fuel price crash to attract record $329BN global investment in 2015 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)
- “We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to move the country away from coal. However we understand that the revised Power Development Planning VII, due to be released in the coming days, will still have a significant percentage of new coal plants. If the Prime Minister is serious about moving away from coal, we hope that the government will comprehensively reassess all proposed coal plants and put in place policies to rapidly accelerate the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency. In addition, all existing and new coal plants should be fitted with pollution controls and higher efficiency standards in line with international best practice.” – Nguy Thi Khanh, Executive Director of GreenID, a Hanoi-based NGO working to promote sustainable energy in Vietnam
- “It is encouraging to see the Vietnamese government’s intention to transition its electricity markets consistent with the strategies currently being implemented by China and India. Energy security is one of the most pressing needs of any country and adding wind, solar and energy efficiency builds domestic energy security. The structural decline of the seaborne thermal coal market is increasingly evident from the trends in China and India. The indication that one of the leading coal developers in Southeast Asia is going to retreat from new coal plants further signals the terminal decline of the global coal industry.” – Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
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