By Raymond Haveroni

Vietnam finds itself at a pivotal moment in its energy landscape, as the nation balances the imperative to transition towards renewable energy with the continued importance of its oil and gas sector. Raymond Haveron CEO and Group Chairman of IMPAC (Industrial Marine Projects Advisory Consultancy) Group forecasts the future of sustainable power in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s energy outlook is marked by a dual focus on sustainability and economic growth, presenting both challenges and opportunities not only for the renewable and oil and gas sectors, but also for Vietnam’s renewable energy sector. This is poised for remarkable growth and innovation, given the government’s commitment to clean energy has set ambitious targets, propelling the sector forward. Solar and wind power will continue to dominate the renewable energy mix, with substantial investments in large-scale projects and distributed generation.

Vietnam’s favorable geographic location, abundant sunlight, and extensive coastline provide an ideal environment for the expansion of renewable energy opportunities and infrastructure, the development of which will be accelerated through strategic partnerships with international organizations and innovative financing mechanisms. Additionally, the introduction of feed-in tariffs, tax incentives, and power purchase agreements have and will continue to attract private sector investment, fostering a conducive environment for renewable energy projects, which, together with the government’s supportive policies and commitment to green growth, have positioned Vietnam as a regional leader in sustainable energy.

Consequently, there will be challenges and opportunities in the energy sector in Vietnam, and it will face a more complex landscape moving forward due to the global transition towards cleaner energy sources and the growing emphasis on carbon neutrality. However, the industry’s long-term viability lies in striking a balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability, and subsequently, the Vietnamese government recognizes and has made commitments to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is exploring strategies to mitigate the environmental impact of oil and gas operations, including carbon capture and storage technologies.


Conventional Energy Sector
The conventional energy sector in Vietnam, predominantly reliant on coal and natural gas, has been the backbone of the country’s power generation for years and will continue playing a significant role in the coming decade, despite efforts to diversify the energy mix, given the abundance of domestic coal reserves and the existing infrastructure supporting conventional power plants.

Despite these major contributory considerations, the sector faces substantial obstacles that need to be addressed. Environmental concerns, such as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, pose significant challenges, but in response, the government is and shall be investing in advanced coal technologies, such as supercritical and ultra-supercritical power plants, in their efforts to improve efficiency and reduce toxic emissions.

Oil & Gas
The Oil & Gas sector has been a vital contributor to Vietnam’s energy supply and economic growth, and its outlook in Vietnam remains positive for the coming decade, despite the global shift towards renewable energy. Vietnam’s offshore reserves, particularly in the South China Sea, still offer significant potential for exploration and production, however, challenges remain in the continued use of fossil fuel in the changing energy market and environmental commitments.

Vietnam should, therefore, investigate and adopt complementary technologies and approaches by, for example, focusing on sustainable practices and technology adoption, encouraging investments in advanced extraction techniques, minimizing environmental impact through stringent regulations, and implementing carbon capture and storage technologies – all of which are crucial steps in meeting these challenges.

The Future Gas Sector
The emerging “Future Gas” sector, particularly Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) presents a promising opportunity for Vietnam’s energy transition, given that LNG is a cleaner alternative to coal and can serve as a bridging technology towards a low-carbon future. Vietnam’s strategic location and growing energy demand position it as a key player in the LNG market, and to fully harness the potential of the “Future Gas” sector, Vietnam should continue to invest in infrastructure development.

Constructing LNG terminals and expanding gas pipeline networks will enhance energy security and diversify gas supply sources. Collaborations with international partners can provide technical expertise to meet these challenges. Innovative financing models and incentives could attract more investment and accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, further facilitating a highly positive outlook for the LNG sector in Vietnam.

The emerging hydrogen sector presents an exciting opportunity for Vietnam, with hydrogen, as a clean and versatile energy carrier, capable of playing a significant role in decarbonizing the economy with the prospect of Vietnam’s abundant renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind power, being harnessed to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis. The outlook for the hydrogen sector is not only positive, but is enhanced by various pilot projects and initiatives that are underway or in planning.

The government’s commitment to promoting hydrogen as a key component of its energy transition strategy further underscores the potential for growth in this sector, and as technology advances and costs decrease, hydrogen can become a key driver of sustainable energy development in Vietnam.

Renewable Energy Sector and Infrastructure:
Vietnam’s renewable energy sector has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, driven by favorable policies, declining costs, and abundant solar and wind resources, making it the ideal location for renewable energy development.

Grid integration is a significant challenge, as the existing grid infrastructure may struggle to accommodate the fluctuations in supply from renewable sources, and thus upgrading the grid and implementing energy storage solutions will be crucial to overcoming these deficiencies and ensuring a stable and reliable power supply.

Such integration and energy storage solutions, critical to overcoming the challenges faced by the Renewable Energy sector, include upgrading the grid infrastructure to accommodate intermittent renewable energy sources and implementing energy storage systems will ensure a reliable and stable power supply.

However, while the outlook for these energy sectors is positive, they are not without further challenges. Potential difficulties include technological limitations, infrastructure development, financing, and regulatory frameworks – and addressing these challenges will require collaboration between the government, industry players, and international partners.

Technological limitations can be addressed and surmounted by investing in research and development, fostering innovation, and creating a supportive regulatory environment. Innovative financing models and incentives can attract investment and accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, whilst streamlining administrative procedures for project approval and optimizing land use will help overcome challenges related to land availability.

Solar Energy as a Source
Solar energy holds immense potential and is being increasingly utilized in Vietnam, with abundant sunlight throughout the year obviously putting the country in an ideal position to harness solar energy as a clean and sustainable power source. The installation and utilization of solar farms offers numerous advantages in Vietnam, but they also come with a few disadvantages, as discussed below:

The author Raymond Haveron


1. Abundant Renewable Energy: Vietnam benefits from plentiful sunlight, making solar farms a reliable and sustainable source of electricity generation.

2. Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Solar energy is clean and emits minimal greenhouse gasses , allowing Vietnam to reduce its carbon footprint and combat climate change.

3. Energy Independence: Solar farms help reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels, enhancing energy security for the country.

4. Job Creation and Economic Growth: The development and maintenance of solar farms create employment opportunities and stimulate the local economy.

5. Scalability and Modularity: Solar farms can be scaled up or down easily, allowing for flexible capacity additions based on energy demand.


1. Land Requirement: Solar farms occupy significant land areas, which could compete with other land uses, like agriculture or conservation, if not planned properly.

2. Intermittent Power Generation: Solar energy generation is dependent on sunlight, making it intermittent and less predictable than traditional power sources. Energy storage systems or grid integration solutions are essential in addressing this issue.

3. Upfront Costs: The initial investment for setting up solar farms can be high, requiring capital expenditure and financial resources.

4. Maintenance and Durability: Solar panels require periodic cleaning, maintenance, and replacement over time, which adds to the overall operational costs.

5. Environmental Impact: While solar energy is environmentally friendly during operation, the production and disposal of solar panels can have some environmental impacts if not managed properly.

Despite these challenges, the advantages of solar farms, such as clean energy generation, job creation, and energy independence, make them an attractive and viable option for Vietnam’s sustainable energy transition. With proper planning and implementation, the drawbacks can be mitigated, and solar farms can play a significant role in Vietnam’s energy landscape.

The Power of the Ocean (Tidal & Wave)
Vietnam also holds great potential for harnessing tidal and wave energy as renewable sources of power. By utilizing its extensive coastline – “stretching over 3,000 kilometers” – and numerous estuaries, the country possesses favorable conditions for tapping into these forms of energy. Tidal energy, generated by the gravitational forces of the moon and sun, can be captured using tidal barrages or tidal turbines. The coastal regions, such as the Mekong Delta and the Gulf of Tonkin, offer suitable locations for such proven and effective installations.

Similarly, wave energy, derived from the kinetic energy of ocean waves, could be harnessed through wave farms or submerged devices (all which are proven mechanisms and are installed in various other countries) by using the South China Sea, with its consistent wave patterns. By investing in tidal and wave energy, the country can again diversify its energy mix.

Strategies to Meet Challenges
Meeting the challenges faced by these sectors in an integrated and thoroughly coordinated manner requires a multi-faceted approach to fully realize the true potential and maximum benefits of a mixed-energy landscape in transition:

➤ Collaboration: Encouraging collaboration between government stakeholders, industry players, and international partners will facilitate joint ventures, cooperative enterprises, technology transfer, knowledge sharing, and financial support.

➤ Research and Development: Investing in research and development will drive innovation in clean energy technologies, enabling the development of cost-effective and efficient solutions.

➤ Regulatory Frameworks: Establishing clear and supportive regulatory frameworks will provide long-term stability and attract investments in the energy sector as an attractive, progressive, yet durable opportunity.

➤ Capacity Building: Developing a skilled workforce, particularly in areas relevant to renewable energy and advanced oil and gas technologies, will ensure the availability of expertise to

meet sector-specific challenges, and will present advantageous employment opportunities and prospects.

➤ Financing Mechanisms: Exploring innovative financing mechanisms, such as green bonds and public-private partnerships, will attract investment and accelerate the deployment of clean energy projects.

Vietnam’s energy sector is poised for a transformative and significant decade, with opportunities in both the oil & gas (future gas), and renewable energy sectors that can be positively developed and productively utilized as the country transitions towards greater clean energy solutions. By adopting best practices—in leveraging its offshore reserves, embracing proven sustainable practices, investing in infrastructure, fostering collaboration, and implementing supportive policies—Vietnam can navigate these challenges and embrace a sustainable energy future. With a clear vision, the people and Government of Vietnam can achieve these energy goals, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions, thereby doing their part to contribute to global efforts towards a greener planet.

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