Minister Trần Hồng Hà, in his message delivered to the webinar “Asia: Renewable Energy Continent”, said: “Climate change, environmental pollution and ecosystem degradation are the crises to humanity today.”
The webinar was held by Viet Nam News, in collaboration with The Statesman of India and Korea Herald of South Korea, all of which are members of the Asia News Network (ANN), an alliance of 21 national media in 19 countries, and moderated by ANN executive director Pana Janviroj.
“Asia is the continent of the fastest economic growth in the world, and also of the highest level of energy consumption. The demand for energy in the region is continually rising due to urbanisation and industrialisation happening at breakneck pace,” the minister said.
“Asia is also a region with tremendous potential in renewable energy, alongside significant knowledge and expertise in renewables. However, the rate of renewable energy remains modest in comparison to ‘traditional’ ones.
“Therefore, along with economic model transformation, energy transition plays a key role in implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to the net-zero emissions target by 2050.”
To fully unleash the potential of renewable energy, as well as accelerate the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy, he suggested that:
“First, renewable energy needs to become a public good that serves all people, so that everyone can have access to and benefit from renewable energy development and energy transition. In particular, communities or groups that are adversely affected by energy transition need to be provided support in terms of livelihoods and education for vocational transition.
“Second, it is necessary to promote cooperation between countries in removing barriers, including those in intellectual property rights, to spur the sharing of knowledge and drive collaboration in scientific research, development, and technology transfer in the field of renewable energy from developed countries to developing ones.
“Third, policies play a critical role in propelling energy transition. Therefore, policies and frameworks appropriate to each country are needed to encourage the business community to increase investments in renewable energy, as well as to promote energy transition, from the planning stage, to licensing, management, and operation of renewable energy development projects.
“Fourth, targets related to developing renewable energy, achieving net zero emissions, and reducing air pollution should be established, which would serve as criteria for making investment decisions and developing energy projects. In particular, it is necessary to secure the commitment from and responsible participation of the financial system, including multilateral development banks, financial and credit institutions, through aligning their lending portfolios towards accelerating the renewable energy transition
“Fifth, there should be increased investment in power transmission systems to maximise the benefits of wind and solar energy production, and more investment into infrastructure projects that accelerate the application of clean technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs) - electric cars and motorbikes, for example.
“Sixth, in addition to efforts to bolster energy transition and unleash the potentials of renewable energy, it is necessary to synchronously implement other solutions, such as the restoration of natural ecosystems that are resilient to climate change to enhance adaptation capacity and carbon sequestration; promoting circular economy in order to make the most efficient use of resources while conserving resources for future generations; and deploying technology solutions for carbon capture and storage to contribute to the realisation of net zero target; etc.
“Finally, in order to promote renewable energy development in Asia commensurate with its potentials, there should be active participation of media and press agencies in the region. The news and media agencies will contribute to spreading the message on the urgency of energy transition, as well as helping the business community and people better understand about the economic, environmental, and social benefits brought about by renewable energy.
Journalists and representatives from ministries and business community in Việt Nam and around Asia attended the webinar “Asia: Renewable Energy Continent”. The speakers included Tăng Thế Cường, General Director of Climate Change Department (CCD) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), on behalf of the Minister of MONRE Trần Hồng Hà; Dr. Harald Link, Chairman of B Grimm Power Thailand; Mr. Hideki Minamikawa, President of Japan Environmental Sanitation Center; Mr. Frank Phuan, Business CEO of Sunseap Energy based in Singapore; Mr. Anil Sood, President of Chetna in India; and Mr. Phan Tấn Cảnh, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ninh Thuận Province, Việt Nam.
The webinar provided a closer look at the current trendy transition to renewable energy in Asia, the involvement of advance technologies, the need in changes of policies and potential financial resources and problems in pursuing green power.
At the event, Hideki Minamikawa, President of the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center, and former Vice Minister of the Environment, appreciated Vietnamese Government’s efforts in reducing carbon emission and shared experience from Japan and stressed the cooperation between the two countries in renewable energy.
“The Vietnamese Government's efforts to address climate change have received international acclaim,” he said.
He shared that Japan had a number of policies to increase energy from clean sources including those from solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass. However, Japan's current renewable energy development is not sufficient and there are challenges with regard to the power grid.
Still, renewable energy is the backbone of power generation in Japan, he said, noting that it is expected to provide up to 38 per cent of Japan's total power generation in 2030.
Similarly, Harald Link, Chairman of B. Grimm Power Pel based in Thailand, said the wide development of clean energy spurs innovation and this offers many insights and models for Asian countries to consider.
“Renewable energy is really the new norm now. Wherever you go, everybody's interested in renewable energy and in the different forms, whether it's wind, water, sun, biofuels, and even waves.”
“There are a lot of innovations happening nowadays so we can look at the peer-to-peer renewable energy in various countries in Europe.”
“The development of renewable energy needs good regulations. It is important to organise an ecosystem of renewable energy sales.”
Frank Phuan, CEO of SUNSEAP Group Pte company based in Singapore, said that he has witnessed both good and bad trends in clean energy development in the region, adding that “good is more than bad”.He emphasised the development of floating solar in hydro dams as well as the implementation of solar-integrated agriculture, notably in mainland China and Taiwan.
Anil Sood, President of India’s Chetna, expressed his concerns about the economic impacts of overloaded transmission networks and environmental consequences if a large number of batteries are not treated properly.
As the area with many renewable energy projects, Ninh Thuận Province has witnessed many positive changes and improvement in lives.
Phan Tấn Cảnh, Vice Chairman of Ninh Thuận Province People’s Committee, said: “Developing renewable energy projects has not only enhanced land use efficiency and the value of land not suitable for agriculture, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 97.9 per cent compared to traditional means like coal power, but also created a driving force for the development of other industries such as real estate, construction, trade, and services.”
However, the fast growth of many projects has caused negative impacts.
“The number of projects has increased too rapidly in a short time, leading to a deterioration of roads where they are concentrated. Fumes and dust caused by vehicles transporting equipment in the area have affected the environment and people’s lives,” he said. “The rapid development of rooftop solar of under 1MW at farms has affected transmission in the power grid.”
Việt Nam is one of the countries heavily affected by climate change. With the motto of action and responsibility, at COP26, the country has made strong commitments towards net zero emissions by 2050, shifting from coal fuel to renewable energy.