POWER UTILITY | Staff Reporter, Vietnam

Massive investments needed for massive coal-fired power plant expansion

Energy hungry Vietnam is set to throw a huge amount of money at the problem of producing more electricity from coal by 2030.

The government estimates Vietnam’s coal industry needs investments amounting to US$15.1 billion until 2020 to realize the ambitious aims of its coal master plan.

The plan will have Vietnam exploit, process and utilize domestic coal reserves efficiently and economically to best serve home demand. It also aims to gradually reduce coal import ratios and enable selective export.

“The country's demand for coal will increase significantly in the coming years. The demand on coal power plants is very great,” said Energy Department Director Pham Manh Thang.

Thang said Vietnam will have 46 operational coal-fired power plants by 2020 consuming about 77 million tonnes of coal per year. Vietnam can supply 29 million tonnes from indigenous sources but will have to import 48 million tonnes.

Coal production targets under the plan are set at 55 to 58 million tonnes in 2015; 60 to 65 million tonnes in 2020 and over 75 million tonnes in 2030.

By 2030, Vietnam expects to have 47 new coal mines in operation at the Dong Bac (Northeast) coal basin. Several of these mines at the Red River Delta coal basin will use underground coal gasification technology to produce three million tonnes per year. Twelve additional coal sorting and processing plants will be built by 2030.

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