Energy Update: January 25, 2019

Energy Update | January 25, 2019
Author: Riley Smith
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

January 28-29: Invest Myanmar Summit 2019

January 29-30: 2019 Brunei Business Mission

February 8: Roundtable with US-ABC Thailand Senior Representative Praab Pianskool

March 12-14: 2019 Vietnam Business Mission

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Thailand’s National Energy Policy Council Approves New Power Development Plan (2018-2037), First of Several Such Plans in Broader Energy Reform Push

Thailand’s new Power Development Plan (PDP), approved on January 24 by the National Energy Policy Council (NEPC), covers 19 years—2018 to 2037—and emphasizes increasing power generation by private companies, strengthening grid security, and setting Thailand up to be an eventual regional power purchasing center or a regional grid connection. The new PDP took three years to draft and is expected to come into effect in the second quarter of 2019. Though it spans almost two decades, the plan can be reviewed every five years to account changes in technology and trends in the power sector.

The new PDP sees Thailand’s power production capacity increase by over roughly 65%—from 46,090 MW in 2017 to 77,211 MW—as 56,431 MW of new power capacity are added and power plants with a total capacity of 25,310 MW are retired. One consequence of the phasing out of these power plants is that the proportion of power generated by the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) would decrease from 35% to 24%, even as overall power capacity increases. The largest portion of this new capacity, just over 25%, or about 20,770 MW, will come from renewable energy power plants. In general, non-fossil power will make up 35% of total power capacity, a trend in the PDP that sees a de-emphasizing of the role of fossil fuels, particularly coal. Under the new PDP, the percentage of coal-fired power plants’ contribution to total power capacity will be reduced to 12%. 

The PDP also authorizes the NEPC and EGAT to study grid development, with the aim of maintaining the power fee (which is projected to range between 3.50 and 3.68 baht per kilowatt-hour), enabling the purchase of more renewable energy in the coming years, and setting Thailand up to be either a power purchasing hub or a regional grid connection for the neighboring countries of Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Cambodia. It also requires EGAT to partner with the Provincial Electricity Authority to develop a smart grid for the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the economic development initiative centered on a portion of Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard that the Government aims to turn into a cutting-edge manufacturing and services hub. The Government expects that developing a smart grid for the EEC will help to lower power fees and, as a result, draw in increased investment.

The new PDP is just the first of four other energy-related plans that will eventually be combined as part of a broader energy reform blueprint. The other four plans will cover oil management, natural gas supply, alternative energy development, and energy savings and efficiency. Work on these other plans is expected to start not long after the new PDP comes into effect.

As Power Consumption Increases, Cambodian Government Aims to Have All Provinces Connected to National Grid by 2020

At the Electricity Authority of Cambodia’s (EAC) annual meeting on January 23, EAC Chairman Yim Viseth announced that the Government plans to have all 24 of Cambodia’s provinces connected to the national grid by 2020. According to the Government, only five provinces remain unconnected from the national grid—Tboung Khmum, Kampong Thom, Oddar Meanchey, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri. Though not directly connected, the five provinces do receive power either indirectly from the grid or via private companies; however, this has resulted in higher electricity tariffs than in other parts of Cambodia. By connecting the remaining five provinces to the grid, the Government is aiming to bring the associated costs of the power supply more in line with other parts of the country and improve its overall reliability. Previously, the Government had committed to ensuring that all villages in the country had access to electricity by 2020. Out of Cambodia's 14,168 villages, around 87% currently have access to electricity. In conjunction with this effort to connect all provinces to the national grid by next year, the Government believes it can achieve its rural electrification goal.

The Government’s intention to ensure that all of Cambodia’s provinces are connected to the national grid by 2020 comes as power consumption in the country continues to increase. Cambodia’s power consumption in 2018, at around 2,650 MW, marked a 15% increase from the prior year. Anticipating another increase this year, Cambodia signed a deal with Laos in December to increase electricity imports. Overall, Cambodia imported 442 MW of electricity from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos in 2018.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Sponsorship Invitation: US-ABC Report on How Industry 4.0 and Digitalization are Transforming ASEAN’s Energy Sector

The US-ASEAN Business Council, in conjunction with the ASEAN Centre for Energy, is soliciting sponsorship for a publication that will examine how Industry 4.0 is transforming ASEAN's energy sector. The changes brought about by the innovative technologies and processes that characterize Industry 4.0 will affect multiple sectors. In the energy sector, Industry 4.0 is most readily seen in the trend of digitalization and the implications this trend has for improving energy efficiency and the operations of energy assets, as well as the application of big data and analytics to provide deeper insight into patterns and trends.

The main goal is for the report to highlight the best practices and recommendations of our members companies that have had to adapt to digitalization in the energy sector. We also want the report to serve as a stepping stone to deeper engagement with the ASEAN Energy Ministers during the annual ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM). Specifically, with the support of ACE, we aim to present the report at the 37th AMEM in September 2019. The report is also meant to feed into future projects examining how the digitalization trend can help ASEAN achieve the key goals of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025.

The report will include:

  • An overview of the trend of digitalization in ASEAN’s energy sector;
  • Case-studies on how U.S. companies operating in ASEAN’s energy sector have successfully adapted to the digitalization trend;
  • Recommendations for ASEAN Governments on what policies to implement to best position their energy markets for the digitalization trend.

For more information on the report and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Riley Smith at rsmith@usasean.org.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Can solar diplomacy green the Belt and Road?

Cambodia
National grid to reach all provinces next year
Solar sector increasingly attractive: Minister
Indonesia eyes LNG export to Cambodia
Cambodia to start extracting oil in October

Indonesia
Power infrastructure to drive Indonesia's energy sector growth: Fitch Solutions
Indonesia resumes discussion to overhaul oil and gas law
Govt says 98.05 percent of households have electricity. What does it mean?
Indonesian Pertamina's Feb planned imports at 9-10 mil barrels; lower from Jan: sources
Binary pilot geothermal plant in Lahendong, Indonesia officially handed over
Pertamina Oil, Gas Production Jump 42 Percent in 2018
PLN coal consumption in 2019 seen 5% higher than last year
Indonesia’s power plants installed capacity to rise to 66.57 GW in 2019
Indonesia to offer 10 oil, gas blocks this year
Indonesia slightly lowers target for investment in electricity
PLN to acquire coal mines to secure supply

Laos
Conference discusses potential impact of Laos’ Pak Lay hydropower project

Malaysia
Govt in bid to recover RM3.5 billion for Sabah’s incomplete pipeline project
Sabah to take back SESB
Frost and Sullivan finds latent demand for EVs in Malaysia

Myanmar
Industrial zones hampered by poor infrastructure but demand remains
Rakhine launches new power infrastructure, aims for development
Yangon Region expects to need 1700MW of electricity this year
Ministry plans to produce additional 2700 mw to satisfy increasing power demand
China faces backlash as it seeks to rekindle Myanmar dam project
MIC gives green-light to nine investments

Philippines
New bill aims to address lack of EV infrastructure in PHL
Hydroelectric power plant eyed in Pangasinan
Industry banks on energy efficiency law to unlock investments
Phoenix-CNOOC JV to build Philippines’ first LNG terminal
Phoenix Petroleum, China partner eye start of LNG terminal in 2023 | Philstar.com
Can Yankee Ingenuity Jump Start The Philippine LNG sector?
Honda advances wind-to-wheel initiative with electric scooter
19% of fuel retail outlets now impose higher oil excise tax
Gas prices going up by P1.40 a liter, 2nd in 2019

Singapore
Sembcorp and Singapore Polytechnic to work on solar panel recycling technology

Thailand
Power plan backed along wIth 2 plants
Thai junta struggles to balance drive to EVs with needs of farmers

Vietnam
China funds multi-billion dollar coal power plant projects in Vietnam
Energy transition could be VN’s next Đổi Mới: experts
Private capital key to Vietnam’s energy development: WB report
Ministry considers putting solar-power projects up for auction
National Coal and Mineral Industries Group urged to make breakthroughs in 2019
Waste-to-electricity projects in big cities appeal to investors
Vietnam’s dilemma: clean electricity or energy security?
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

Asean's Power Landscape Expected to Transform in 2019 Jakarta Globe 24th Jan 2019
Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are on a path to transform their power landscapes as energy demand continues to rise to match the region's economic growth potential, a power management company said this week. "In the pursuit of a robust digital economy, Asean is heralding in an era of unprecedented innovation … 2019 will see power play an indispensable role in shaping the evolution of the region's economy," Ireland-based power management company Eaton said in a statement. In Southeast Asia, technology will have to meet increasing demand for clean, renewable energy and remote power management, support the arrival of 5G connectivity, and provide resilience against growing cyberthreats. Asean's evolving energy demand, which according to the International Energy Agency will grow by almost two-thirds by 2040, will go together with the projected boom in the region as part of the fourth industrial revolution.

Can solar diplomacy green the Belt and Road? China Dialogue 24th Jan 2019
China has pledged to fill the global infrastructure development gap with more than US$4 trillion in “sustainable” projects through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But China is not delivering on its promises of green and low carbon infrastructure so the initiative is facing a crisis of legitimacy. According to a recent report from the World Resources Institute, about 75% of the US$145 billion in loans from China’s major financing institutions went to fossil fuel energy projects, including US$10 billion for coal plants. The report also outlined how almost all investments in the construction of fossil-fuel power were state-owned enterprises. In contrast, private Chinese companies, which have much smaller investment footprints, have focused on solar and wind.

Cambodia

National grid to reach all provinces next year Khmer Times 23rd Jan 2019
The government says it plans to have all 24 provinces in the country connected to the national grid by 2020. Five provinces still lack access to the national power grid – Tboung Khmum, Kampong Thom, Oddar Meanchey, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri. Speaking at Electricity Authority of Cambodia’s annual meeting yesterday, Yim Viseth, chairman of the agency, said that these provinces receive energy indirectly from the national grid or are serviced by private companies, which makes electricity tariffs higher. Once they are connected to the national grid, the power supply will become cheaper and more reliable, he added. “Our aim is to have these five provinces connected to the national grid by next year,” he said.

Solar sector increasingly attractive: Minister Khmer Times 23rd Jan 2019
With the Kingdom’s largest solar energy project due to come online this year in Kampong Speu province, the local solar sector is luring an increasing number of investors every year, the Minister of Mines and Energy said. Minister Suy Sem yesterday said that Kampong Speu’s 60-megawatt solar farm, being built with an investment of $60 million, will be ready by the end of the year, as originally planned. “Everything is going according to plan, and the plant should be ready in time,” Mr Sem said, adding that the government welcomes investment on renewables to increase the country’s capacity to generate power. The minister’s comment follows an announcement by Huaneng Group earlier this week unveiling plans for a solar energy project in Cambodia. During Prime Minister’s Hun Sen official visit to Beijing this week, Huaneng Group’s CEO Shu Yinbiao told him that the company plans to invest in Cambodia’s solar sector, according to a post on Mr Hun Sen’s Facebook page.

Indonesia eyes LNG export to Cambodia Antara News 17th Jan 2019
Indonesia has eyed export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Cambodia to meet the demand for power plants in the country, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said here on Wednesday. "I have talked about our economy. The Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (Ignasius Jonan) and a team of PGN (the state gas firm PT Perusahaan Gas Negara) will continue the discussion in Phnom Penh and on how we can sell gas (to Cambodia)," Kalla stated. According to Kalla, the high electricity tariff in Cambodia should be seen as an opportunity for Indonesia to offer natural gas as an alternative to diesel oil for power generator. "Electricity here is very expensive, US$17 cent (per KwH), while our price is $7 cent. I have explained (to Premier Hun Sen) that our minister has already talked about it and it would be continued today," he added. Meanwhile, Jonan remarked that private electricity company has controlled 90 percent of production in Cambodia and the remaining was managed by the government. Power plants in Cambodia have used diesel oil, coal, and water for the generator, while the country has yet to have the infrastructure for gas-generated power plant. "We offer to replace diesel oil with gas. PGN has made the offer. If they agree, PGN will invest here (in Cambodia)," Jonan noted. A gas-generated power plant would need a facility of regasification to convert LNG into electricity. Therefore, Indonesia has also offered development of the regasification facility.

Cambodia to start extracting oil in October Bangkok Post 16th Jan 2019
Cambodia is set to start extracting oil from an offshore oilfield being developed in the Gulf of Thailand in October, a government official said Wednesday. Cheap Sour, director general of the Mines and Energy Ministry, said that following the first extraction, commercial production of the oil from an area known as Block A in the Khmer basin will begin next year. Singapore-based oil and gas company KrisEnergy Ltd., which holds a 95%  stake in the area, is expected to produce 7,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Cambodia, which holds the remaining interest in the area, expects to earn $780 million during a nine-year period from next year, according to the official. Bloc A is one of several oilfields found off Cambodia and is located about 160km from Sihanoukville, a major Cambodian port southwest of Phnom Penh.

Indonesia

Power infrastructure to drive Indonesia's energy sector growth: Fitch Solutions The Business Times 24th Jan 2019
Construction of power infrastructure -- chiefly coal-fired power plants -- will remain the primary driver of growth in Indonesia's energy and utilities sector for the near future, said Fitch Solutions Macro Research in a Jan 16 report. However, there are risks that power projects may be postponed due to the country's widening current account deficit and a weakening rupiah, which would then cause a drag on growth. The power sector accounts for over 85 per cent of the total value of all energy and utilities projects, with a total project value of US$64.1 billion, according to Fitch Solutions' key projects database. State-owned Perusahaan Listrik Negara is involved in the majority of projects that are in the pre-construction and construction phases, and Fitch Solutions expects the government's investment in energy projects to grow, expanding electricity capacity to keep pace with rapid economic growth. Fitch Solutions forecasts real growth of 4.6 per cent for the power infrastructure sector in 2019, to average 5 per cent annually between 2019 and 2027. The sector is expected to be the main pillar supporting growth of the overall energy and utilities sector, ahead of the water and pipeline infrastructure sub-sectors.

Indonesia resumes discussion to overhaul oil and gas law Rambu Energy 24th Jan 2019
The Indonesian government has resumed discussion to amend the Oil and Gas Law issued in 2001, with an aim to improve business and investment climate of the sector and ultimately boost the country’s oil and gas production. On Wednesday (Jan. 23), President Joko Widodo conducted a limited cabinet meeting to discuss the draft amendment of the Oil and Gas Law, which was initiated by the People’s Representative Council (DPR). The draft law has been presented to the government to respond to the draft law. ‘ In response, the government has proposed its own ideas, in particular on some controversial issues. Among issues of the draft law is the proposed establishment of Special Business Entity (Badan Usaha Khusus) in Oil and Gas Sector. However, the government appears to disagree about the proposed plan.

Govt says 98.05 percent of households have electricity. What does it mean? The Jakarta Post 23rd Jan 2019
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo's administration has boasted that nearly all households in Indonesia have electricity, saying that the country had reached an electrification ratio of 98.05 percent as of September. However, does this mean that 98.05 percent of the nation’s households enjoy 24-hour electricity for all their electronics like residents in Java’s big cities enjoy? In the last eight years, the government’s data show that the electrification ratio jumped by 30.85 percentage points from only 67.2 percent in 2010 to 98.05 percent as of September 2018. The ratio progress follows the escalation of power plant capacity from between just 25 and 30 megawatts (MW) in 2010 to 62.4 MW as of September 2018. The government calculates the electrification ratio from the total number of households that have access to electricity compared to the total number of households in the country, which is estimated to be more than 60 million households. In March, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said the government also included the electricity provided by the private power utility in the calculation of the national electrification ratio. Out of the 98.05 percent, 95 percent comes from PLN, 2.5 percent from non-state electricity firms and 0.12 percent from the government’s solar-powered energy saving lamps (LTSHE) program. Based on those figures, the government came up with the result in September that 33 out of 34 provinces had reached more than 80 percent electrification except for East Nusa Tenggara with only 61.01 percent.

Indonesian Pertamina's Feb planned imports at 9-10 mil barrels; lower from Jan: sources Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide 22nd Jan 2019
Indonesia’s state-owned Pertamina is expected to import around 9 million-10 million barrels of gasoline in February 2019, down from the estimated 10 million-11 million barrels in January, market sources said. Although higher from February 2018, Pertamina’s lower import volumes in February, compared with January, will likely exert downward pressure on the Asian gasoline market. Despite a slight rebound at the start of the year, the market has remained weak due to high inventories in Singapore and Fujairah in January. Indonesia imported 6.8 million barrels of gasoline in February 2018, around one-third lower than the 10.5 million barrels the company had imported in January 2018, according to data from Statistics Indonesia.

Binary pilot geothermal plant in Lahendong, Indonesia officially handed over Think GeoEnergy - Geothermal Energy News 21st Jan 2019
In October 2017, the first low-temperature geothermal demonstration power plant was successfully commissioned in Lahendong/ Tomohon, North Sulawesi. The construction and operation of the geothermal power plant is a joint study carried out between the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education with the German Federal Government through the GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) German Research Center for Geosciences supported by PGE. “We hope that this plant can operate properly, reliably, and continue to provide benefits for operations in the Lahendong Field. In addition, it is hoped that this plant can increase the knowledge, experience and capabilities of Indonesia’s human resources,” said PGE President Director Ali Mundakir in a statement. In a ceremony today, the 500 kW plant was officially handed over to the Indonesian partners. “I am proud to hand over Lahendong Binary Geothermal Power Plant to the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (RISTEKDIKTI). German-Indonesian Research Cooperation at its best. Binary geothermal technology can be replicated in many parts of Indonesia, so Dr. Peter Schoof, German Ambassador to Indonesia.

Pertamina Oil, Gas Production Jump 42 Percent in 2018 Tempo 18th Jan 2019
State-owned oil and gas company Pertaminarecorded the country’s production of oil and gas throughout 2018 increased to 768,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBOEPD). The figure jumped 42 percent when compared to that of last year at 542,000 barrels. Pertamina Upstream Director Dharmawan H Samsu said that the figure saw a positive trend of Pertamina. “[We] will continue to maintain this [performance] to prove that Pertamina as the national company carries out a mandate to fulfill needs of national energy,” said Samsu in a written statement, Jakarta, Thursday, January 17. Additionally, the gas production in 2018 reached 2,763 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD). The volume rose by 57 percent than that in 2017 at 1,760 MMSCFD. Pertamina also recorded that several oil and gas blocks had entered its production system, namely Mahakam Block, Sanga-Sanga Block, East Kalimantan Block, and OSES (Offshore South East Sumatera) Block. “As SOE and administrator of state assets, we will continuously strengthen baseline production to ensure that we optimize recovery factor in all Pertamina oil and gas fields by using economic and effective approaches,” Samsu noted.

PLN coal consumption in 2019 seen 5% higher than last year Rambu Energy 17th Jan 2019
The coal needs of the state-owned electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) is projected to reach 96 million tons (Mt) this year, which is 5% higher than realized coal consumption last year at 91.1 million. The realized coal consumption last year was slightly lower than the target of 92 Mt. The projected increase was due to additional demand from the new coal-fired power plants, which are scheduled to begin commercial operation this year. The Head for Coal Division of PLN Harlen was quoted by Kontan as saying that this year, PLN’s power plants consumed around 7.5-8 Mt of coal per month. Based on the prevailing domestic market obligation requirement, coal producers are required to allocate 25% of their coal production to the domestic market. Those failed to meet the requirement will be given disincentive by approving lower production quota.

Indonesia’s power plants installed capacity to rise to 66.57 GW in 2019 Rambu Energy 14th Jan 2019
Indonesia’s power plants installed capacity in 2019 is projected to increase by 3,976 MW to 66,565.71 MW as some of the power plants are scheduled to come on-stream this year, directorate general for electricity at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said. Last year, the realized installed capacity of the country’s power plants stood at 62,589.71 MW. Director for Corporate Planning of the state-run electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) said Friday (Jan. 1) that PLN alone expects to add 2,200 MW of power plants installed capacity this year, including hydro-power plant (PLTA) Jatigede with installed capacity of 110 MW (2×55 MW) and Rajamandala 47 MW. The other power plants that are scheduled to begin operating in 2019 are including PLTU Tanjung Power with installed capacity of 2×100 MW in Tabalong, South Kalimantan, which is being developed by Adaro Power; PLTA Air Putih with capacity of 21 MW in Bengkulu, Sumatera and PLTU Pangkalan Susu in North Sumatera with capacity of 2×200 MW. PLN, however, is currently review the annual electricity supply plan (RUPTL) given that some of the coal-fired power projects are expected to be completed this year, much earlier than scheduled revision. The projects are part of the government’s ambitious 35 GW power plant program.

Indonesia to offer 10 oil, gas blocks this year The Jakarta Post 14th Jan 2019
Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Oil and Gas Director General Djoko Siswanto has said the ministry plans to offer 10 oil and gas blocks in two auction phases. Speaking at the weekend Djoko said that first auction phase will involve the Anambas, West Ganal and West Kaimana blocks as well as two exploitation blocks -- West Kampar and Selat Panjang and the auction process would be opened before the end of this month. “It [the first auction] will kick off this month. We have just finished the terms and conditions,” he said. In 2018, the ministry signed off nine exploration blocks through auction schemes, three of which were agreed in December. The three are the South Andaman offshore block in Aceh, South Saka Kemang onshore block in South Sumatra and Maratua onshore block in Central Java.

Indonesia slightly lowers target for investment in electricity The Jakarta Post 11th Jan 2019
The government is lowering its investment target for the electricity sector this year to US$12.04 billion, 1.3 percent less than last year’s target of $12.2 billion, after taking into account a recent slowdown in electricity consumption. Only $11.28 billion was invested in 2018, but that was 24.5 percent more than the $9.06 billion invested in 2017. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s electricity program supervision director, Jisman P. Hutajulu, said on Thursday that most of the investment would be used for the construction of power plants. “We aim to have an additional electricity generation capacity of 3,976 megawatts [MW] by the end of 2019,” he said recently, adding that the company also needed to invest in the construction of transmission facilities and substations. The ministry aims to have a total installed electricity generation capacity of 66,500 MW by the end of 2019, up from the current 62,500 MW. The ministry also expects people’s electricity consumption to increase by 12.7 percent to 1,200 kWh per capita by the end of 2019. It plans to electrify all villages across the country by setting the target of 99.38 percent electrification. This year, the government also wants to lower the contribution of fossil fuels to power grid to only 4.03 percent or 0.97 basis points lower than in 2018.

PLN to acquire coal mines to secure supply The Jakarta Post 16th Jan 2019
State-owned electricity firm PLN is set to acquire coal mines as part of its plan to secure 40 percent of the coal demand for its power grid – which last year absorbed 95 million tons of coal – by 2023. PLN president director Sofyan Basir said that by 2023 coal demand for the company’s thermal power plants would jump to around 180 million tons, almost doubling from current demand. “Last year, we needed about 90 million tons of coal, and in the next four years, we need 80 million more [to meet growing electricity needs],” he said.

Laos

Conference discusses potential impact of Laos’ Pak Lay hydropower project VietNamNet Bridge 15th Jan 2019
Representatives of Mekong Delta localities, central departments, and agencies, as well as scientists gathered at a conference in the city of Can Tho on January 15 to discuss the potential impacts of the Pak Lay hydropower project in Laos, especially to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region. The event, the second of its kind so far, was chaired by Le Cong Thanh, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and Vice Chairman of the Vietnam National Mekong Commission. Participants were updated on the progress of the Mekong River Commission (MRC)’s technical assessment report on documents related to the project. Experts also gave their ideas on the Pak Lay hydropower plant and other projects in the Mekong River and recommendations to the Vietnam National Mekong Commission. Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Le Cong Thanh said that Vietnam is paying great attention to the possible effects from hydropower plant construction to the environment and the socio-economic situation in the Mekong Delta region, which also go hand-in-hand with impacts from climate change. According to head of the Vietnam National Mekong Commission’s Office Le Duc Trung, the MRC Secretariat will analyse information from the project and consider the ideas of experts as to how to best evaluate the impacts of the project and measures to reduce them. It will then propose that the MRC Joint Committee ask Laos to make appropriate adjustments.

Malaysia

Govt in bid to recover RM3.5 billion for Sabah’s incomplete pipeline project Free Malaysia Today 19th Jan 2019
Putrajaya is currently trying to recover the money it has already paid to the company contracted to build the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) project. Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin said the company was paid 84% of the total cost of the project worth RM4 billion, but the project progress was only recorded at 14%. “We have two options at the moment. Either to recover the fund which was paid prematurely or to carry on with the project,” she told reporters today after attending a briefing by indigenous empowerment group Pacos today. The TSGP project involved building a 662km gas pipeline from Kimanis Gas Terminal to Sandakan and Tawau, costing about RM4.06 billion in total. According to Yeo, about RM3.5 billion was already paid but the actual work had not been completed. On the high rate of power interruptions in Sabah, Yeo said while Sabah has a 32% reserve margin, the west coast has the bulk of the reserve and the east coast has negative reserve margin on peak hours. She said there is a pressing need for the transfer of power to the east coast by upgrading the transmission line from 180MW to 400MW.

Sabah to take back SESB BorneoPost Online 19th Jan 2019
The federal government has initiated the transfer of Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) ownership rights back to Sabah to address the state’s power woes within two years. Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the federal cabinet had in principle approved the change of ownership so the devolution to achieve a win-win deal with the state government could be self-sustainable in terms of power. Yeo said two task forces, financial and technical, would be established to discuss and start the process and make periodical updates on progress of discussions to the people. “We hope that with the return of the ownership rights, SESB can be revamped to  bring better services to the people of Sabah,” said the federal minister.

Frost and Sullivan finds latent demand for EVs in Malaysia New Sarawak Tribune Official Website 17th Jan 2019
A survey by business consulting firm Frost and Sullivan has found a latent demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in Malaysia. Associate partner and senior vice president of mobility Vivek Vaidya said the survey found that Malaysians have a good understanding of EV technology and prices compared to conventional vehicles, as well as EVs’ association with renewable energy sources and environmental issues. “This shows that Malaysians are quite well aware (of EVs) and therefore we believe that there is latent demand in the market for EVs,” he told reporters at a briefing on Malaysia’s Automotive Market Outlook 2019 here yesterday. Elaborating on the survey, he said 37 per cent of the correspondents said that they were willing to consider an electric vehicle as their next product of choice, with about 50 per cent of them also saying they expected EVs to be more expensive than conventional cars. He added that the percentages are considered to be very high in a market where electric vehicles are almost non-existent. Vaidya said for EVs to progress, the government needs to outline any policy that could help develop EVs in the upcoming National Automotive Policy (NAP).

Myanmar

Industrial zones hampered by poor infrastructure but demand remains The Myanmar Times 24th Jan 2019
Business information firm Frontier Myanmar Research (FMR) last week at the Yangon Stock Exchange launched its Myanmar Industrial Zone Review, a study based on reviewing approximately 100 active, developing and proposed industrial zones across the country. Industrial zones in Yangon Region benefit from geographical proximity, and hence many better-run zones are being filled up. This has driven up the land prices of industrial estates near the commercial capital. To add to the problem, the government’s effort to push back on land speculation has yielded little success. The price increase has led investors to look beyond Yangon Region. Currently, Myanmar has 63 industrial zones and parks in operation, occupying 25,425 of land in all the states and regions, with the exception of Chin State. Of all the industrial estates, 65 percent are located in the Yangon Region. 

Rakhine launches new power infrastructure, aims for development The Myanmar Times 24th Jan 2019
The infrastructure will now provide electricity around the clock to some 7800 households in the townships said Union Minister for Electricity and Energy U Win Khaing. The 66KV and 66/11KV transmission lines connect the townships to a 5 MVA substation in Maungdaw Built by the Department of Electric Power Transmission and System Control, work on the project was completed on December 20. The project was officially launched last Saturday in an event attended by U Win Khaing and Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu. Before the project’s completion only 986 households out of 1530 in Rathedaung received electricity produced from a 500KVA generator for about five hours a day. In Buthidaung, only 1200 households out of some 3370 received electricity about nine and half hours a day while about 1800 out of more than 4470 received electricity about 12 hours a day from generators. Now, thanks to the infrastructure project 24-hour electricity and will reach more than 1270 houses in Rathedaung and about 1930 houses in 26 nearby villages, about 1800 houses in Buthidaung and about 260 houses in 13 nearby villages, and 2180 houses in Maungdaw and about 3900 houses in 11 nearby villages, said U Win Khaing during the ceremony to launch the project. 

Yangon Region expects to need 1700MW of electricity this year The Myanmar Times 24th Jan 2019
Electricity consumption in Yangon Region is expected to reach 1700 megawatts this year, said U Tun Kywe, CEO of the Yangon Electricity Supply Corp (YESC). Yangon used 1548MW last year, which is expected to increase based on growth rates, historical data and new projects. Preparations for an adequate supply in summer include grid line expansion, increasing the power transformers from main transformers from 10 to 20, expansion of 66 kilovolt-ampere (kVA) and 33kVA stations, and the installation of small transformers, he said. There are also plans to install insulated 400-volt cabling in residential areas to improve the safe distribution of more electricity, he added. In last year’s budget, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy requested K24 billion for YESC to provide sufficient electricity and expand coverage of the grid and K3.1 billion for lighting rural areas. Yangon Region consumes 50 percent of Myanmar’s electricity generation. Myanmar’s electricity consumption is expected to reach more than 4500MW in 2020-21, said Deputy Minister of Electricity and Energy U Tun Naing.

Ministry plans to produce additional 2700 mw to satisfy increasing power demand Eleven Myanmar 22nd Jan 2019
Plans are under way to generate an additional over 2,700 megawatts as the nationwide power consumption is expected to hit around 4,531 mw in 2020-2021, said Win Khaing, Union Minster for Electricity and Energy on January 9. Currently, the country’s nationwide power consumption is increasing from 15 per cent to 19 per cent. To meet increasing power demand, the ministry plans to build three LNG-fired power plants which have a production capacity of about 3,000 MW, in addition to hydropower, gas-fired power and solar-powered plants. The natural gas production will decline in 2020, he added. Currently, the highest power consumption is 3,483 mw. A total of 16 thermal power plants produce 1,083 mw. The government is making constant efforts to enable all regions and states to have equal access to electricity.

China faces backlash as it seeks to rekindle Myanmar dam project South China Morning Post 20th Jan 2019
Political and religious leaders in Myanmar’s Kachin state have hit back at apparent efforts by Beijing to breathe new life into a controversial China-funded dam project as the Southeast Asian nation comes under fire from the West over its treatment of the Rohingya Muslims. In a joint statement released on Monday, three ethnic Kachin political parties said they were seeking the “permanent suspension” of the US$3.6 billion Myitsone Dam project, which has been on hold since 2011 but had been slated for completion this year. “This is the people’s desire. We won’t change our policy on the Myitsone hydropower dam,” Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, chairman of the Kachin Democratic Party, told Myanmar’s Network Media Group. The backlash from community leaders came after the Chinese embassy in Myanmar said local people in Kachin, as well as political and religious leaders there, had a “positive attitude” towards the dam, which is the largest of several Beijing-backed energy and mining projects approved by the military government before 2011. It also underscores the dilemma China faces as it seeks to extend its geopolitical influence over its neighbours through infrastructure and investment.

MIC gives green-light to nine investments Eleven Myanmar 13th Jan 2019
Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) granted the permits to nine new investments including CMP factories and LPG businesses at its meeting on January 11. The nine new foreign investments are: meat packaging, rice and rice mill products, animal feed production, baby chicks production, CMP garment industries, power production, LPG industry, warehouse and logistics services and vehicle repairing training. The new investments can create 2,227 jobs for locals. From 1988-1989 to 2018-2019 fiscal year, the total foreign investments reached around USD 78 billion with China topping the list of FDI with USD 20.249 billion, followed by Singapore with USD 19.752 billion. Oil and gas sector led the list of FDI with 29 per cent and the energy sector, with 27 per cent. Livestock and fishery, farming and construction sectors saw the least FDI inflows, accounting for less than one per cent.

Philippines

New bill aims to address lack of EV infrastructure in PHL AutoIndustriya.com 22nd Jan 2019
While most countries have improved their electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure exponentially over the past few years, the same cannot be said locally. Given that there have been improvements, the EV infrastructure here is still limited. For example, there are only a handful of charging stations located all over the country and are a good distance from each other. However, that could all soon change and local EV infrastructure could soon get a much needed boost with the filing of a new Senate Bill. Senator Sherwin 'Win' Gatchalian recently filed Senate Bill No. 2137 directing the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop an 'electric vehicle roadmap' which would promote the use of electric vehicles and 'further accelerate the electrification of transportation'. Should the bill be passed, Gatchalian says that it will help address the challenges of owning an electric vehicle in the country. In the bill, it states that both public and private buildings and establishments will be required to have dedicated parking slots with charging stations for EVs. It further states that no permits will be issued for the construction or renovation of a establishment unless the owner shows proof that there are dedicated parking spaces for EVs along with charging stations.

Hydroelectric power plant eyed in Pangasinan Philippine News Agency 21st Jan 2019
The Filinvest Development Corporation (FDC) Philippines Inc.- FDC Renewable Corporation is seeking the endorsement of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) for the construction of a 26-megawatt hydroelectric power plant in San Nicolas, Pangasinan. Mirabel Mae Perez, corporate social responsibility officer of FDC, said on Monday the firm already got the service contract from the Department of Energy (DOE), but the endorsement of the provincial government, through the SP, as well as the approval of the municipal government of San Nicolas, among other requirements, are still needed for the construction of the power plant. “It is a clean source of energy as it is renewable. Since it will be a run-off river scheme, it has little chance of flooding. It will also add additional electricity capacity to Luzon and there will be opportunities for industries to thrive in the community with the sufficient source of electricity,” Perez said during her presentation of the project to the SP members. Project manager Engr. Neil Guillen told the board members that the hydroelectric power plant would cost about PHP3.5 billion. Guillen further said that after they acquire the endorsements from respective local government units of Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya, it will still take a year to start construction of the power plant.

Industry banks on energy efficiency law to unlock investments Business World 21st Jan 2019
MEMBERS of the Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance, Inc. (PE2) need to plan their staffing and capital resources based on how the proposed energy efficiency law would be able to “catalyze” investments in both the private and public sectors, the group’s top official said. “Some of these players will have to broaden access to newer technologies, staff capacity development resources, and even to project or operating capital from either debt or equity sources,” said PE2 President Alexander Ablaza in a response to questions via e-mail. He made the comments after the Bicameral Conference Committee convened on Wednesday to reconcile the disagreeing positions of Senate Bill 1531 and House Bill 8629. They approved the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) Act on the same day. The reconciled bill will become law once signed by the President. Mr. Ablaza said it might be too early to estimate revenue-based market sizes for companies involved in energy efficiency, but said he hopes the law would be able to mobilize a sizeable portion of the $243-billion capital requirement for the local economy to realize the Department of Energy’s targets under the 2040 energy efficiency and conservation road map. Mr. Ablaza said what remains crucial is that after a long 28-year wait, the Philippines is joining its neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “as the newest and only remaining country that has enabled a mandatory energy efficiency regime through legislation.”

Phoenix-CNOOC JV to build Philippines’ first LNG terminal Kallanish Energy News 14th Jan 2019
The Philippines’ energy ministry has approved the bid from local fuel retailer Phoenix Petroleum and China’s CNOOC to build the country’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal. The $2 billion regasification and imports terminal will be built south of the capital of Manila, featuring a capacity to handle 2.2 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of LNG. The plant is expected to start operations in 2023, Phoenix said Friday, in a regulatory filing. The project will be developed and operated by a joint venture formed by Phoenix’s Tanglawan Philippine LNG and CNOOC Gas and Power Group. The companies signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the facility last June, Kallanish Energy notes. The government’s approvals are crucial for the replacement of the declining indigenous gas production, estimated to run out as early as 2024. Phoenix said long-term, the project will also feature a natural gas power plant with capacity to generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity. “The (LNG) terminal is only Stage 1 of our plans for the facility. We will develop it to become an LNG hub, giving Filipinos access to low-cost and environmental-friendly energy supply,” said Phoenix’s chief operating officer, Henry Fadullon.

Phoenix Petroleum, China partner eye start of LNG terminal in 2023 | Philstar.com philstar.com 12th Jan 2019
The team-up of businessman Dennis Uy’s Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) expects to start operating its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal by 2023. This is after their joint venture firm Tanglawan Philippines LNG Inc. was granted by the Department of Energy (DOE) the notice to proceed (NTP) to build an LNG terminal in Batangas. In  disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, Phoenix Petroleum said it plans to break ground on the facility within the year. The facility has a capacity of 2.2 metric tons per annum, with commercial operations targeted to start in 2023. Phoenix Petroleum said the LNG terminal would help support the demand for a clean and reliable energy source in Luzon and contribute to the sustainable development of the Philippine economy. The integrated long-term project also aims to develop a gas-fired power generation facility with up to 2,000 megawatts installed capacity. “The terminal is only stage one of our plans for the facility. We will develop it to become an LNG hub, giving Filipinos access to low-cost and environment-friendly energy supply,” said Phoenix Petroleum chief operating officer Henry Albert Fadullon. Tanglawan Philippines is a joint venture between Phoenix Petroleum, and CNOOC Gas and Power Group Co. Ltd., CNOOC’s subsidiary and China’s largest LNG importer and terminal operator. The DOE is accepting proposals from companies interested to build the LNG terminal under the Philippine Downstream Natural Gas Regulation (PDNGR), which details the rules and regulations governing the downstream natural gas industry to develop a market and gain energy security and sustainability. It is looking to start constructing the country’s LNG hub by mid-2019 to safeguard against the anticipated contract expiration of the Malampaya gas facility by 2024.

Can Yankee Ingenuity Jump Start The Philippine LNG sector? OilPrice.com 12th Jan 2019
A U.S.-based company, Excelerate Energy, is throwing its hat in the fledgling Philippine liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector. Excelerate, based in Woodlands, Texas, and Manila-based First Gen Corp., have filed a joint bid for an LNG import project, Philippines DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said during a news conference in Manila on Monday.  Excelerate filed its application with the Philippine DOE on December 27. Excelerate is one of at least two dozen firms to file papers since the DOE issued a request for LNG project proposals in November 2017. Numerous other LNG project proposals have been discussed in recent years but have never materialized. Moreover, talks for energy projects in the country often fall apart amid regulatory and financing hurdles, as well as companies trying to appease not only officials in Manila but provincial and local officials who often scare away international business with their under-the-table demands and rampant corruption.

Honda advances wind-to-wheel initiative with electric scooter Inquirer 24th Jan 2019
Automotive giant Honda Motor Co., Ltd. is introducing an electric scooter that uses a portable battery charging system pilot tested in Romblon, which stores electricity generated from wind energy. Dubbed PCX Electric, the scooter can be installed with Honda’s Mobile Power Pack, which when used with the Mobile Power Pack, can harness renewable energy source in the island. “Soon in Romblon, Honda will [use] PCX Electric [to harness a] wind power generator as renewable energy source in the island,” Honda said in a statement.

19% of fuel retail outlets now impose higher oil excise tax BusinessMirror 22nd Jan 2019
NINETEEN percent of all fuel retail outlets in the country are already implementing the second tranche of the fuel excise tax. Based on Department of Energy (DOE) monitoring, 1,639 fuel retail outlets out of the 8,630 service stations nationwide have implemented as of January 17 the higher rate imposed under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. The next-round hike entails an additional excise tax of P2 imposed per liter of diesel and gasoline, and P1 per kilogram on household LPG. There will also be an additional 12-percent value-added tax, for a total of P2.24 for both diesel and gasoline, and P1.12 for LPG.

Gas prices going up by P1.40 a liter, 2nd in 2019 BusinessMirror 15th Jan 2019
OIL firms announced on Monday another price increase in petroleum products, the second for the year. Gasoline prices will go up by P1.40 per liter, diesel by P2.30 per liter and kerosene by P2 per liter. Pilipinas Shell, PTT Philippines, Eastern Petroleum Corp., Petro Gazz, Total Philippines and Jetti said in their respective price advisories that the price adjustment takes effect at 6 a.m. of January 15. The adjustment reflects the week-on-week movement of MOPS (Mean of Platts Singapore) and foreign exchange rate.  “This is not yet the effect of the fuel excise tax, but merely a reflection on the movement of international crude prices,” they said.

Singapore

Sembcorp and Singapore Polytechnic to work on solar panel recycling technology The Straits Times 23rd Jan 2019
Solar energy is growing as a source of clean, renewable energy in Singapore. But this raises a key and pressing challenge for the local solar energy industry - where do all the used solar panels go at the end of their lifespan? The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that by 2050 the world will have produced 60 million tonnes of photovoltaic panel waste. But local energy company Sembcorp Industries and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) say they have a solution to this problem. Sembcorp and SP signed a collaboration on Wednesday (Jan 23) to commercialise what is said to be Singapore's first solar panel recycling process. Developed locally by researchers, it involves extracting recyclable materials from parts of used solar panels, such as glass, silicon, and metals including silver and aluminium. Under this collaboration, Sembcorp and SP will also work together to develop a pilot recycling plant for solar panels.

Thailand

Power plan backed along wIth 2 plants The Nation 24th Jan 2019
THE NATIONAL Energy Policy Council (NERC) has given the green light to the new Power Development Plan (PDP), which will boost power production capacity to more than 77,000 megawatts in 2037. The council also approved power plant projects in Surat Thani and in the Western region. Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said that the NERC agreed on the new PDP - covering 2018 to 2037 – at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) was tasked with planning for Thailand's power transmission system development for higher power security, grid modernisation and for a regional grid connection centre covering five countries – Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia and Cambodia. The Egat will also team up with the Provincial Electricity Authority to develop a smart grid in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to facilitate the needs of investors and enable power discounts. The NERC also agreed on a 1,400 MW power plant project in Surat Thani and a 1,400 MW plant in the West, of which a part will replace Ratchaburi Power Generating Holding's 700 MW Tri Energy power plant. The company’s contract will end in July 2020. The Committee on Energy Policy and the Energy Regulatory Committee will also consider a solar power plant project for community needs, with capacity of 100 megawatts per year for 10 years from 2019. The project is expected to begin in the middle of this year. In the new PDP, the country's power production capacity will rise from 46,090 MW in 2017 to 77,211 MW in 2037. New capacity is expected at 56,431 MW from 2019 to 2037.

Thai junta struggles to balance drive to EVs with needs of farmers Nikkei Asian Review 11th Jan 2019
The Thai government is facing an energy dilemma ahead of general elections in February. On one hand, it is throwing its weight behind building an electric vehicle industry, but moving away from biofuels could lose millions of votes from farmers. The military government has been pushing hard to attract new investment in electric vehicles in a drive to make Thailand a regional high-tech auto hub. The Board of Investment has already approved many EV projects, particularly in its newly developed special economic zone, the Eastern Economic Corridor. It has given investment incentives to foreign car assemblers since March 2017 to draw them to the area. With strong support and investment by several car producers, the government wants to have 1.2 million EVs on the road by 2030, in line with Thailand's 20-year national strategy. But as the country moves to embrace cleaner energy, there are worries that it will decrease demand for fossil fuels and biofuels. In particular, Thailand has been developing its biofuel industry for more than three decades.

Vietnam

China funds multi-billion dollar coal power plant projects in Vietnam VietNamNet Bridge 23rd Jan 2019
Of China's US$36 billion in financing for coal-fired plants in 23 countries, Vietnam has second most proposed coal-fired capacity after Bangladesh, totaling 13,380MW, with the fourth most funding, totaling US$3.6 billion, according to a new report by the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). Most of the projects (58%) are fairly advanced, with 4,800MW under construction and 3,000MW permitted, stated IEEFA. Forty-two percent of the capacity (5,580MW) has committed funding. Chinese banks have already funded a number of completed coal plants in Vietnam. In total, Chinese EPC firms have built fifteen coal-fired power plants in Vietnam, with Chinese banks providing US$8.6 billion in funding for them. Many of the current proposed coal projects are an additional phase of already completed plants. While financial institutions around the world are moving away from coal to limit exposure to increasing stranded asset risks, IEEFA found that China is simultaneously funding over one-quarter of coal plants under development outside the country.

Energy transition could be VN’s next Đổi Mới: experts vietnamnews.vn 18th Jan 2019
Increasing energy efficiency together with developing renewable energy is critical for Việt Nam to ensure energy security, according to expert. This was highlighted at a workshop on energy security in the context of climate change during the Việt Nam Economic Forum held by the Central Economic Commission yesterday in Hà Nội. Nguyễn Văn Bình, Chairman of the Central Economic Commission, said climate change was a huge challenge for every country, threatening to drag down socio-economic development. Việt Nam is among five countries most exposed to climate change, given its long coastline and large river basins. Stressing that the development of traditional energy sources was a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions, Bình said it was vital for Việt Nam to improve energy efficiency and develop renewable energy for sustainable development. He said Việt Nam had enormous potential for residential and industrial rooftop solar energy which could rapidly increase renewable energy supply into the grid. However, it was important to ensure the grid could absorb this additional supply.

Private capital key to Vietnam’s energy development: WB report vietnamplus.vn 14th Jan 2019
New financial sources, particularly from the private sector, will help Vietnam further develop its energy industry, according to a new World Bank report on maximising finance for Vietnam’s energy development. Titled “Maximising Finance for Development in Vietnam’s energy sector”, the report said the changing macroeconomic and sectoral context in Vietnam requires a new approach to financing electricity and gas investments. It presented an action plan on how to unlock new sources of finance, especially from the private sector, based on a comprehensive analysis of investment needs as well as constraints in the regulatory environment including the capital and forex markets. Between now and 2030, Vietnam’s electricity sector requires new investments of about 10 billion USD annually, higher than the average of 8 billion USD for the 2011–15 period. Meanwhile, the development of the gas sector is estimated to require about 20 billion USD between 2015 and 2035. While Vietnam Electricity (EVN) and PetroVietnam (PVN) will continue to play an important role in developing new infrastructure, the vast majority of new gas and electricity investments will need to come from private players. Moving into this direction is in line with the Government’s strategy and objectives of financing the energy sector in the future, said the report.

Ministry considers putting solar-power projects up for auction VietNamNet Bridge 13th Jan 2019
The ministry recently asked for the government’s permission to approve another 17 solar power projects. Deputy Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong said MOIT is considering auctioning solar power projects to choose the best and most capable investors. The policy would settle existing problems as it would reflect the market price at the time the projects are under construction. Meanwhile, Vietnam will have enough time to develop transmission lines. FIT (feed in tariff), or the electricity price applied for solar power projects, will be valid for the entire life cycle of projects, or 20 years. Thuan Binh Wind Power JSC, established in 2009, is planning to develop renewable energy projects in the Central Highlands and Ninh Thuan province. Its projects are expected to have capacity of 1,000 MW, one third of which will be wind power and the remaining solar. However, Bui Van Thinh, CEO of Thuan Binh, complained that investors are meeting difficulties because the electricity price is unpredictable. Another big concern for solar power project developers is the limited absorption of the national grid. The electricity transmission line in Phu Lac now can absorb 100 MW of electricity only, while the registered projects have total capacity of 400-500 MW.

National Coal and Mineral Industries Group urged to make breakthroughs in 2019 Nhan Dan 11th Jan 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has asked the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) to step up measures to ensure the adequate supply of coal for production, while paying attention to environmental protection. The government official was speaking at a conference in Hanoi on January 9, held to sum up the group’s operation in 2018 and deploy the 2019 tasks. Praising the achievements gained by Vinacomin last year, the deputy PM stated that the mining company must ensure sufficient coal under its contracts with consumers, while playing a key role in offering adequate coal supply for the country's socio-economic activities in 2019. In addition, the group needs to create breakthroughs in coal quality by investing in technology and production innovation, boosting mechanisation in production, and protecting the environment. At the conference, Dang Thanh Hai, General Director of Vinacomin, said that his group’s main business targets in 2019 are to produce 40 million tonnes of coal and consume 42 million tonnes, netting a revenue of VND128 trillion and setting the average salary for its employees at VND11.3 million/person/month. Last year, Vinacomin’s coal output reached 36.95 million tonnes, equivalent to 104% of the set plan and to 105% compared to that of 2017. Consumption in 2018 reached 40.5 million tonnes, up 4 million tonnes compared to the set plan and by 5 million tonnes compared to the 2017 statistic.

Waste-to-electricity projects in big cities appeal to investors VietnamNet Bridge 11th Jan 2019
In November 2018, the HCM City Department of Natural Resources and the Environment joined forces with Tasco JSC to start construction of Tasco Cu Chi, a 500 ton per day solid recycling plant. In Hanoi, the municipal authorities approved the Soc Son waste-to-electricity (WTE) plant project with capacity of 4,000 tons per day. With huge volume of domestic waste of up to 9,300 tons per day, HCM City has released a set of criteria for investments in waste-to-electricity projects. The city will accept projects with the daily capacity of 1,000 tons and treatment costs of no more than $21 per ton. The technology in the projects need to be capable of treating unclassified waste, and all the equipment must be new. Hanoi, Da Nang and Hai Phong have also called for investment from different economic sectors. WTE technology has a lot of advantages. It reduces 90-95 percent of waste volume, takes full advantage of heat, occupies less land area, mitigates water pollution and bad odors and reduces greenhouse emissions. The government, prioritizing usage of electricity from waste, has set a high electricity purchase price of up to 10.05 cent per kwh, which is even higher than prices from wind and solar power.

Vietnam’s dilemma: clean electricity or energy security? VN Express 18th Jan 2019
Opening a seminar at the 2019 Vietnam Economic Forum in Hanoi Thursday, Nguyen Van Binh, chairman of the Communist Party's Central Economic Commission, stressed the need for Vietnam to address the challenges brought about by climate change. "If we don't effectively respond to climate change, the achievements of our socio-economic development will be damaged and the process of sustainable development will encounter many difficulties." As a country with a long coastline and many large river basins, Vietnam is considered among the five countries most affected by climate change.  The impacts of climate change would accelerate resource depletion and environmental degradation and slow down the country's socio-economic development, Binh said. While renewable energy is environmentally friendly, its sources are still unstable, potentially endangering energy security, while traditional energy sources such as coal help ensure energy security but contribute to the greenhouse effect, a major factor in causing climate change.