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Press release – Virtual dialogue on “Prospects for a Socially Just Energy Transition in Vietnam: 2021 and beyond”

Press release – Virtual dialogue on “Prospects for a Socially Just Energy Transition in Vietnam: 2021 and beyond”

On 27th July 2021, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in collaboration with the Vietnam Initiative for Energy Transition (VIET SE) and Climate Sense (CS) held a virtual dialogue on “Prospects for a Socially Just Energy Transition in Vietnam: 2021 and beyond”. Attending the dialogue were representatives of the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority – Ministry of Industry and Trade, representatives of Institute of Science – Labor and Society, the local authority of Ben Tre province, as well as vocational training institutions, businesses, and experts in the energy sector. Ms. Claudia Ehing, Project Director of Climate & Energy in Asia – FES, opened the dialogue by introducing the background of the study to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of the energy transition in Vietnam from 2018 to 2020 to update the report conducted in 2017. The updated report titled “Prospects of a Socially Just Energy Transition in Vietnam: 2021 and beyond” was conducted by Ms. Ngo To Nhien – Director of VIET and Mr. Koos Neefjes – Director of CS. Representative of the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority – Ms. Nguyen Phuong Mai (Deputy Chief of Office) presented the overview of energy transition in Vietnam and emphasized that wind and solar power would be the trend in the following decades. Ensuring the socially just and benefits during the transition requires considering various political, socioeconomic, and environmental factors. This would be a challenging mission for policymakers. Ms. Mai also pointed out that the Draft Power Development Plan 8 has integrated results from the strategic environmental assessment study. After the presentation of Ms. Mai, Ms. Nhien & Mr. Koos presented the results of their research and recommendations on technology transfer to increase the local share, human resource development strategy, cooperation between the investors and local communities. These recommendations aim to maximize the co-benefits and to ensure a sustainable energy transition. The event was held from 14:00 to 16:30, with three speakers, seven panelists, and 155 other participants. The discussion was very dynamic and fruitful with two panel discussions on “Labour, employment, drivers for local economic development,” and “Technology, Policy, Investment”. Forty-eight (48) questions were raised and answered among the audiences, policymakers, investors, educators, and other participants. Those numbers have demonstrated that the dialogue provided multidimensional exchanges on just energy transition and attracted the attention of various stakeholders. Diverse topics have been seriously discussed. In the first panel discussion, the representative of the investors, Dr. Hoang Giang – President of Pacifico Energy in Vietnam – share his opinion on human resources. He noted that professional training for this field in Vietnam doesn’t exist yet. Therefore the investors must hire foreign experts, which resulted in additional costs while local human resources are not utilized. According to Dr. Giang, a 30 MW solar power project would require about 210 staff for the construction phase and 30 employees for operation. For the wind project implementing by Pacifico Energy, a workforce of 600-700 people was mobilized simultaneously at some points. This indicates there will be high labor demand in the renewable energy sector in the future. So how do we have a skilled workforce for renewable energy development? Dr. Giang suggested strengthening the collaboration between businesses, vocational training institutions & universities and organizing short-term training with international experts. The representative of VIET SE added that we need a program targeting high-school students to support them in identifying job opportunities and raising awareness of green jobs. The following discussion focused on the long-term strategy for technology, policy development, and attracting investments for the just energy transition. The discussion featured Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Ngoc Ca – Institute of Science and Technology Development Strategy – Ministry of Science and Technology, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Thuc – Director of Institute of Human Settlement and Sustainable Energy, Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang Nguyen – Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs and Ms. Pham Viet Ha – Programme Reform of TVET in Vietnam. The panelists provided multidimensional perspectives and indicated that technology development following global trends plays an important role. This should be followed by appropriate policies to encourage domestic businesses to approach and take ownership of new technologies. The strategy will help reduce investment rates and bring mutual benefits to all energy users in Vietnam. A noticeable point during the discussion was the remark of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Thuc about authorizing provinces to exploit, use, and distribute solar and wind resources on-site effiecentyly according to the specific geographical characteristics of Vietnam. Mr. Nguyen Van Niem, Deputy Director of the Department of Industry and Trade of Ben Tre, also pointed out that renewable energy projects have driven the local socio-economic development. However, he suggested that there should be a job transition strategy that suits the energy transformation trend. Gender equality was also discussed as the share of women working in the energy sector is small, and they are still underrepresented. The discussions revolved around using energy on-site and empowering women to participate in renewable energy development. The virtual dialogue ended with an affirmation: “The energy transition will only be meaningful if it does not create new forms of inequality while contributing to alleviate poverty and bring benefit to all.” The full report and presentations at the dialogue are available at: HERE
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