Vietnam Energy Situation

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Postgraduate Course on Renewable Energy – Spring 2013

Final essay

Vietnam Energy Situation

Prepared by: Kim Ngoc Mai

United Nation University, Institute for Sustainability and Peace

20 Mar, 2013

1. National energy consumption, demand and supply profile2

a. Potential/Reserves2

b. Energy demand and consumption2

c. Consumption and supply profile3

2. Renewable energy resource assessment5

3. Potential for renewable energy penetration6

4. Renewable Energy project development7

5. Renewable Energy policy development and institutional strengthening7

6. Renewable Energy application and potential in the future8


1. National energy consumption, demand and supply profile

a. Potential/Reserves

Vietnam has high potential of primary energy resources. According to Institute of Energy Vietnam, 2007 (IE, 2007) , Vietnam has around 6 billion tons of coal in proven reserves with expected lifetime of 85 years, and exploitability of 60 – 80 million tons per year. Proven reserves of oil and gas are 161 mn tons and 6.8 ton ft3 respectively with expected lifetime of 10 - 25 years respectively.

Hydropower is traditional energy source in Vietnam. Potential renewables resources are 20 GW of hydropower, 4000 MW small hydropower, 44 bn TOE/year of solar energy, 22400 MW of wind energy, 45 mn TOE/year of biomass and 400 MW of geothermal energy. Table 1 from Institute of Energy Vietnam (IE, 2007) shows the overview of Vietnam’s energy resources.

b. Energy demand and consumption

As a developing country, energy is an important source for economic development, and Vietnam has very high energy demand, especially in industry sector and transportation sector. It is expected that by 2020 - 2025, the demand will double the consumption today. The Figure 1 from APEC Energy Demand and Supply Outlook – 5th edition (APERC, 2013) shows the historical consumption and final energy demand with “Business As Usual” scenarios with the highest energy demand is in industrial sector and transportation.


Vietnam is a coal importer, crude oil exporter and refined oil importer. In the future, with increasing energy demand, Vietnam has to increase the amount of coal imported from other countries. The Figure 2 shows the fossil fuel production and import from 1990 and projected to 2035, with increasing trends of fossil fuel import and steady trend of production (APERC, 2013). Vietnam is an important oil supplier to regional and domestic markets and may emerge as a significant natural gas supplier in the next decade (EIA, U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2012). However, as in Figure 3 from EIA International Energy Statistics, with increasing domestic consumption, Vietnam is reducing its oil export.

c. Consumption and supply profile

With favorable natural conditions, renewables in form of hydropower entered the energy sector very early in Vietnam and stayed as main role until early 2000s, and considered as traditional energy source in Vietnam. Second main primary energy source for electricity generation is from coal – fired from big reserves. Natural gas then started its participation since 1995 but not yet took as main source until 2005 with 41% in the electricity generation mix (APERC, 2013). In 2010, Vietnam’s electricity generation mix is 40% from Gas, 30% from hydropower, 16% from coal, and 6% imported and the remaining is from oil (APERC, 2013).

It is estimated that nuclear power will enter the mainstream and take a relative part of 8% in electricity generation mix in 2025 (APERC, 2013). The portion of oil in electricity generation mix in Figure 4 is reduced in the future, but the consumption in quantity has a slightly increase as shown in Figure 5 by 2035. Vietnam will reduce its dependence on oil, but coal...
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