Press release – Virtual Dialogue on “Integration of Renewable Energy into Vietnam’s Power Grid System”

On 19 June 2020, the Vietnam Initiative for Energy Transition (VIET) held a virtual dialogue on the “Integration of renewable energy into Vietnam’s power grid system”. The objective of the dialogue is to share the results from two latest studies of VIET on (i) the integration of wind (onshore/nearshore) to the grid up to 2022 and (ii) the scenarios for offshore wind power integration to 2030. After each presentation (30 minutes), the participants had one hour to discuss the technical feasibility, economic efficiency and policies related to the solutions for renewable energy integration in Vietnam. The dialogue had 150 participants representing research institutes, international and national funds, international and national wind association, investors, administrative agencies and especially with the participation of representative of Vietnam Electricity (EVN) and VietsovPetro.

The multi-dimensions discussions have been benefited from the participation and contribution of the distinctive guests:

  •  Mr. Vu Mai Khanh, Deputy General Director of VietsovPetro
  •  Mr. Dinh Xuan Duc – Deputy Head of Power System Planing Dept.– National Load Dispatch Center
  •  Mr. Tran Hong Ky, Senior Energy Expert, representing WB
  • Dr. Hoang Giang – President and CEO of Pacifico Energy VN and Mui Ne Solar Power
  • Mr. Bui Van Thinh – Chairman of Binh Thuan Wind Power Association, CEO of Thuan Binh Wind Power Joint Stock Company
  • Dr. Nguyen Hong Phuong – Senior Expert in Electricity Grid Modeling and Simulation, VIET and TU/e University, Netherlands
  • Dr. Ho Dinh Tham – Senior Expert in Energy Regulation, IES Company, Sydney
  • Dr. Dinh Van Nguyen – Senior Expert in Wind Energy Assessment and Planning, VIET and Cork University, Ireland
  • MSc. Duong Viet Duc – Senior Expert in Grid Investment
  • MSc. Le Quoc Anh – Senior Expert in Grid design and modeling

Ms. Ngo Thi To Nhien – Executive Director of VIET – has opened the dialogue with an introduction of the context and the policies for renewable energy and grid development in Vietnam. The presentation has pointed to the urgency of the grid planning in synchronization with the rapid growth of variable renewable energy projects. It also raised the issues in simultaneously integration of a significant amount of wind and solar power as approved to be included in the power development plan, which concentrated in some provinces, while still ensuring the reliability of the system.

Next, VIET’s grid modelling and simulation expert on behalf of the research team has presented the study on “Integration of offshore wind power to Vietnam’s grid system to 2030”. The results demonstrate the scientific evidence on the technical and economic feasibility for Vietnam’s grid system to integrate about 10 GW of offshore wind to the grid by 2030 from 3 potential zones. This number is consistent with VIET’s previous study on options for wind power development in Vietnam. To reach 10 GW offshore wind, the authors propose a roadmap which focus on exploiting the wind potential in southern part of the sea (from Binh Dinh southward) in the 2023-2025 period to ensure the supply for peak load demand in the South by building a VSC-HVDC line to collect maximum 3 GW of offshore wind power. Considering the technical and economic factors, the authors suggest the first offshore wind platform should be designed at 600 MW rated capacity for Zone 3 – Binh Thuan sea. This offshore wind platform can be integrated in Vietnam’s grid system by 2023. In the 2025-2030 period, the next offshore wind platform should be developed in Zone 3 and Zone 4 then shifted to the North (Zone 1) where the power supply will fall short compared to the demand. Having additional 3 GW of offshore in this area connecting to the 500 kV Hai Phong substation through VSC-HVDC will significantly improve the power supply for the North and reduce the transmissions pressure for North-South line.

The representative of VIET’s research team on power grid presented the study on the capability of the grid to integrate wind (onshore/nearshore) and solar power projects from 3 regions (Central Highland, South Central and Southwest Coastal) to 2022. The study calculates for the 03 “worst-case” scenarios (marginal conditions) including: (i) max load on transmissions grid – min demand at daytime on Sunday in June for Central Highland and South Central; (ii) high load on transmissions grid – min demand at night-time in June for Central Highland; (iii) max load on transmissions grid – min demand at daytime on Sunday in December for Southwest Coastal. The inputs are: (i) all projects added in the power development plan [1] ; (ii) status of grid system and latest updates of grid and substations development plans [2].

The calculation results for the 3 “worst-case” scenarios show that: the maximum total power capacity of solar and wind farms from Quang Binh southward can be evacuated is 11.4 GW by 2022 due to the transmission limit of the 500 kV Da Nang – Nho Quan axis. Detailed simulations for the “worst case” (when the capacity need to be evacuated reach the maximum) for each region show that many of the 220-500 kV transmission lines and substations are overloaded. The overloading level could be from 108% to 164% in Central Highland, 105-117% in the Southwest, 138%-153% in Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces, and 104-195% in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan. The authors proposed 2 groups of solutions (i) solutions to avoid grid overload though the conditional curtailment in each of the studied region and (ii) solutions on grid upgrade to ensure the renewable plants can operate at rated capacity. The solutions in group (ii) are detailed by proposing a plan for grid and substations upgrade for each region as per following:

  •  Central Highland
    • Build a new 500 kV substation Pleiku 3 with the capacity of 900 MVA
    • Build the 2nd circuit of 220 kV line Buon Kuop – Dak Nong(Dak D’rung branch is on this circuit)
  • South Central 1
    • Complete 220kV substation Sông Cầu with capacity 2x250MVA and 220kV line Song Cau – (Nhon Hoi) – Phuoc An ahead of schedule. Open circuit of 220 kV line Song Cau – Tuy Hoa.
    • Add one more conductor in a bundle Phuoc An – Quang Ngai (from AC400 + AC330 to 2xAC400+ 2xAC330) and Phu My – Quang Ngai (from AC330 to 2xAC330)
  • South Central 2
    • 500kV substation Ninh Thuan 2 with capacity 2×900 MVA, complete the 500 kV substation Ninh Thuận 2 to Thuan Nam (belong to 500 kV line Van Phong – Thuan Nam) ahead schedule, 06 feeder 220 kV cut the circuits of Thap Chàm – Vinh Tan, Thap Cham – Da Nhim lines.
    • Increase the capacity of Di Linh substation from 2x450MVA to 450MVA + 900 MVA.
    • Increase the capacity of 220kV line Da Nhim – Duc Trọng – Di Linh.
    • Not yet need to build 220 kV Ninh Phuoc – Vinh Tan (35 km) and Ninh Phuoc – Thuan Nam (15 km)
  • Southwest
    • Add 01 MBA 500kV – 600 MVA at 500/220kV Long Phu substation
    • Add 01 transformer 500kV – 450 MVA at 500/220kV Duyen Hai substation
    • Speed up the progress of 220 kV Duyen Hai transformer, 220 kV substation Vinh Châu to operate in 2022.

The dialogue is closed at 17:30. The concluding remarks from the dialogue are:

  • Diversification of investment in power source development is a solution for strengthen energy security, however, the system should transit from centralized to decentralized model.
  • RE development needs synchronous planning between source and grid. Concentration of RE projects in some regions increase the operation cost of the system due to the requirement for grid upgrading in short-term. These issues will increase the electricity price in the long term.
  • It needs to speed up the transmission grid investment process to meet the power evacuation needs for RE plants (mechanisms for consideration: auction, land clearance and compensation, socialize the transmission grid investment, etc.)
  • RE purchase tariff can approach to international market through auction mechanism. However, auction should be organized at national level to meet the requirements of system regulation synchronously.
  • Publishing the targets on RE development will provide concrete signal to the market, support the establishment of domestic supply chain and auxiliary industries, create jobs and bring more added value for Vietnam

[1] Addition of renewable energy projects: Letter no. 724/BCT-ĐL dated 06 February 2020; Letter no. 1931/BCT-ĐL dated 19 March 2020; Letter no. 1968/TTr-BCT dated 19 March 2020; Document no. 693/TTg-CN dated 09 June 2020 

[2] Grid investment plans: Power Development Plan 7 revised; Decision no. 219/QD-TTg dated 13/02/2018 approving 5-year investment plan of EVN; Document no. 441/TTg-CN dated 16/4/2020 of the Prime Ministerto MOIT on adding list of 220kV, 500 kV projects in to the Power Development Plan 7 revised


During each discussion session, VIET has introduced a small poll with questions related to the grid integration of renewable energy in Vietnam. The questions and the poll’s results is presented in the table below: