Press release the virtual dialogue “Offshore Wind Development in Vietnam: Environmental and social impact assessment regulations”

On the afternoon of 18/08/2021, the virtual dialogue “Offshore Wind Development in Vietnam: Environmental and social impact assessment regulations” was organized successfully by the Vietnam Initiative for Energy Transition (VIET) in collaboration with the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA). The dialogue attracted the attention of more than 300 participants, including policymakers, business representatives, law consultants, international finance organizations, engineers, and researchers.

Dr.Sc. Phan Xuan Dung – President of VUSTA, gave a welcome speech to open the dialogue, emphasizing Vietnam’s diverse potential for renewable energy development, such as solar energy, wind energy, wave energy, etc. He also stressed that the Party and the Government had set strategical targets for marine economic development to 2030, with a vision to 2045 in Resolution No. 36-NQ/TW dated 22/10/2018 at the 8th plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee. Politburo’s Resolution No. 55-NQ/TW dated 11/02/2020 on orientations of Vietnam’s National Energy Development Strategy stated the solution “Develop supporting policies and a breakthrough mechanism enabling offshore wind power development in association with the implementation of Vietnam’s Marine Strategy”. Finally, he heightened the role of environmental and social impact assessment in the sustainable development of the offshore wind industry, as well as the necessity of in-depth research and strong collaboration among related stakeholders in this issue.

Mrs. Ngo Thi To Nhien – VIET’ Executive Director, presented the overview of offshore wind development in Vietnam. The presentation summarized numerous reports on Vietnam and the global offshore wind power development situation, with evidence of supportive policy framework in some countries advanced in this sector, such as Danish, Germany, Netherlands, and Taiwan. In the next session, the group of VIET’s researchers delivered their main findings on regulations on environmental and social impact assessment for offshore wind power development in Vietnam. After reviewing numerous factors in investigating social-environmental impacts for developing offshore wind, comparing with Vietnam’s relevant legal documents, and referring to international experience, they brought out several policy recommendations and proposals to reduce negative impacts during the cycle life of offshore wind farms as below:

1. An interdisciplinary group should be established to accelerate the completion of offshore wind power development policies;
2. A government agency should be assigned as a focal point in surveying, assessing, and identifying locations of offshore wind projects;
3. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment should detail the provisions of Environmental Protection Law on preliminary environmental impact assessment for offshore wind by a specific guidance framework;
4. Completing the general guidance framework for environmental impact assessment (EIA) and a detailed guidance framework on the verification of EIA report to ensure: (i) the EIA process is complied and implemented properly, and (ii) the content of the EIA report is sufficient and accurate;
5. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment should promulgate regulations on the preparation of an environmental and social management system together with socio-environmental action plans before the construction phase;
6. There should be mechanisms and tools to monitor and quality control as well as define the responsibilities of appraising authorities and the EIA report appraisal council.

The discussion session was very dynamic and fruitful, with practical questions among the panelists and 300 audiences about deploying offshore wind projects in Vietnam. The panelists include:

–  Dr.Sc. Phan Xuan Dung – President of Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations;
–  Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Chu Hoi – Standing Vice Chairman of Vietnam Fisheries Society, and Member of the 15th National Assembly;
–  Mr. Vu Mai Khanh – Deputy Director General for Investment-Development and Services, Vietsovpetro;
–  Mr. Le Kim Hung – President of Ninh Thuan Union of Science and Technology Associations;
–  Dr. Le Trong Trai – Deputy Director of Viet Nature Conservation Center;

and the representatives of international companies who have intensive experience in deploying offshore wind power projects:

–  Mr. Taco Hoencamp – Senior Project Manager, Royal HaskoningDHV;
–  Mr. Andrew Ho – Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Asia Pacific New Markets, Øsrted.

With multi-dimensional discussion, the content of the dialogue not only revolved around most of the issues of offshore wind power but also covered potential conflicts between other resources such as fisheries, petroleum, and bird migration. The audiences expressed their interest in the practical experience in offshore projects of Vietsovpetro as well as the international experience from Øsrted and Royal HaskoningDHV on the comprehensive legal framework applied to the environmental and social impact assessment.
The full report and presentations at the dialogue are available at this attached link