Alternative Energy Vietnam: 400MW Geothermal Energy Capacity
Vietnams's Thanh Nien newspaper reports that the earth can be regarded as an enormous geothermal machine, the abundant energy of which is demonstrated by the eruption of the volcanoes, hot spring water, and hot natural air. Man is presently harnessing only a small fraction of that energy.
The start-up capital for such energy is around US$1.5 million per MW, which is 1.5 times more expensive than that of hydroelectricity, experts said.
Geothermal electricity, however, is more feasible than hydroelectricity with a shorter period of construction (estimated from 2 to 3 years), and a smaller construction site; a heat-storing tub located at several km underground, according to experts.
Developed countries like the US, Japan, Russia, and developing ones such as China, the Philippines, Malaysia, among others are making hectic preparations to construct geothermal power stations.
Vietnam finds itself located on the world geothermal map, with its capacity expected to be up to 400MW. The capacity of the US, for example, is 3170MW, Japan 458MW, Indonesia 379MW, and New Zealand 300MW.
Strikingly, the Philippines owns a resource capacity predicted to be as much as 2764MW, and it expects to catch up with the US in this field.
Vietnam’s potential regions are in the North West, North East, the North, and especially in South central Vietnam, in areas such as Le Thuy (Quang Binh), Mo Duc, Nghia Thang (Quang Ngai), Hoi Van (Binh Dinh), Tu Bong, and Danh Thanh (Khanh Hoa). Geothermal energy electricity projects seem to be very feasible, with completed plants forecast to have capacity ranging from 20MW to 50MW.
Geothermal energy’s output capacity is less than that of hydroelectricity, however, the preeminent and stability of the clean, environmentally-friendly, and permanent source of energy would play an important role in diversifying Vietnam’s energy sources.
In the 1990s, the US’s Ormat Corporation spent a lot of money and effort researching and planning to establish a geothermic electric plant in Vietnam with the capacity up to 20MW. It also agreed to sell the electricity to Vietnam Power Corporation at a competitive price, but Vietnam has no policy to favor such plan, and Ormat had to part with its project.
Among the hot sunny days with widespread lack of electricity in May, the Mechanics Institution, reporting to the Vietnam Science and Technology Institution, held a conference entitled "Developing and Using Geothermal Energy in Vietnam". The top outcome from the conference was that scientists expected the Vietnamese government to start developing Vietnam's geothermal energy sources soon.