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Foreign Firms Drive Future of Vietnam Coal Industry With Sustainable Tech

Vietnam’s coal sector is receiving international aid for a more sustainable future.

Global firms, including Bosch, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Kepco, have expressed interest in providing greener machinery for the country’s coal-fired power plants, since coal is projected to expand the nation’s energy capacities over the next decade, Vietnam Investment Review reported.

“The demand for advanced thermal power generation will increase as the government requests new thermal stations to protect the environment,” Bosch Rexroth Vietnam country sales manager Nguyen Bach Khoa. “This field offers ample business opportunities for foreign companies with cutting edge technology.”

According to Vietnam’s Power Development Plan (PDP) VII, which was edited from 2016, coal’s thermal power share is anticipated to increase to approximately 50 percent by 2025. Coal-fired power plants have only 7 US cents per kWh, which is the lowest feed-in-tariffs. Although a coal thermal power station’s investment capital is less costly that of hydropower, nuclear power, solar and wind stations, the coal sector has greatly contributed to global pollution. As hydropower hits its peak and the nation gears for its first nuclear power plants, Vietnam is exploring more eco-friendly initiatives for its coal industry.

Bosch, a worldwide technology supplier, is considering supplying sustainable equipment to Vietnam’s new coal thermal power plants. The firm is currently formulating market research on this concept, which is projected to be finished by July. Bosch is also exploring business partnerships with industry experts to develop ideas for environmental progress.

MHPS, a U.S.-based thermal power company, also plans to tap into the nation’s coal sector in the future. In November, the company established a Hanoi representative office to secure its market presence. MHPS also supplied main machinery to the Phu My 1 and O Mon 1, a de-nox system for Mong Duong 2 and a dust removal system for Thai Binh 1, all of which are key coal plants for Vietnam.

“We are carefully watching progress in the PDP VII to adjust our business strategy,” MHPS SVP T. Aihara said. “MHPS also has plans to find local suppliers to maximize localization rate in the country.”

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South Korean-based global provider Kepco is also supporting the sustainable future of Vietnam’s coal industry. Kepco teamed up with Japan’s Marubeni Corporation to launch a $2.3 billion Nghi Son 2 power project in the country’s Thanh Hoa province. According to Kepco Southeast Office chief representative Park Bogon, the company is seeking an investment certificate from the Ministry of Planning and Investment and will begin construction later this year.

As foreign firms prep to support Vietnam’s coal sector in upcoming years, there are a few obstacles to navigate. Vietnam’s government policy for currency conversion doesn’t currently meet prerequisites for international banks, which could complicate funding processes. However, since coal could potentially fulfill Vietnam’s power demands, many foreign firms are turning to trustworthy developers, including GE Vietnam, to form sustainable solutions for coal-fired power plants in the future.