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Offshore wind power still has great potential

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Many large corporations want to develop offshore wind power projects in Vietnam, but existing bottlenecks have made them hesitant to proceed.

Offshore wind power still has great potential

Under the Prime Minister’s Decision No 39 fixing wind power prices, offshore wind power is sold to the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) at VND2,223 per kwh, or 9.8 cent. However, the price will no longer be applied after October 31, 2021. The development of offshore wind power is still on paper.

Liming Qiao from QWEC said at a recent online workshop that Vietnam is leading Southeast Asia in terms of offshore potential, with 160GW of usable technical potential in offshore wind power.

However, in the draft of the eighth national electricity development plan, Vietnam set a very modest target for offshore wind power development, just 2,000-3,000 MW by 2030.

According to an expert, Vietnam is capable of having 10 GW prior to 2030 and the figure should be set as the target.

Commenting about wind power prices around the world, she said that current prices have become much lower than previously. The cost will decrease when the total installation capacity in the market reaches a certain threshold.

However, it is not easy to develop offshore wind power. Investors may have to spend 5-6 years on the development process, two years on the installation. A project can operate for 25 years. Most offshore wind power farms are located 60 kilometers off the coast, with average wind speed of 9 meters per second and water depth of up to over 50 meters.

Andrew Ho from Denmark’s Orsted said once international investors are interested in a market, they want to see stable policies to plan their long-term investments in that market.

This can be attained through regular dialogue with the Government and local authorities. The Government needs to set up a transparent legal framework for offshore wind power, because it is very difficult to build offshore wind farms, and is also difficult to transmit power ashore. In order to do these things, investors need to discuss this with many parties, including the Government, electricity buyers and local agencies.

In some countries, foreign investors only have to only contact one agency authorized by the State to deal with the issues related to offshore wind power development. This is great for investors, as the State shares risks with investors which helps cut the electricity production cost, thus benefiting both the parties, he said.

Which price?

In some countries, foreign investors only have to only contact one agency authorized by the State to deal with the issues related to offshore wind power development. This is great for investors, as the State shares risks with investors which helps cut the electricity production cost, thus benefiting both the parties, he said.

QWEC suggested the Government of Vietnam continue applying the current price of 9.8 cent per kwh for the first 4,000-5,000 MW.

“The Feed in Tariff (FIT) price will expire this November and the time from now to that day is not enough to calculate how high the next FIT price should be. However, enterprises can continue making investments with the current FIT if it is extended,” said Liming Qiao.

She believes that after obtaining 5,000 MW of offshore wind power, Vietnam can shift to applying the bidding mechanism.

Bernard Casey from Mainstream Vietnam said Ministry of Industry and Trade last year proposed that Government extend the FIT for two more years. The proposal has also been applauded by investors. However, the Government has not given an exact answer about whether to extend the FIT.

According to Sebastian Haid Buhl from Orsted, bidding does not always bring good prices, i.e. lower than FIT. If there is no transition period, bidding prices will be even higher than FIT.

Maya Malik, CEO of La Gan Offshore Wind Power Project, said that Vietnam doesn’t have supply chains, and its policies are not clear enough and it is difficult to use PPA (power purchase agreement) to borrow capital.

All of this makes it difficult to make financial calculations for the project. If the power price is not high, it will be difficult to implement the project.

She stressed the need to have a transitional period before applying bidding.

According to an expert, to make profit, an offshore wind power project needs to have a scale of 400-500 MW and investment capital of $800-1 million or higher. The time needed to implement such a project is 5-7 years, from the beginning of development to operation.

Who will build seaports to serve offshore wind power projects and install transmission lines to transmit electricity ashore?

Maya Malik affirmed that the investor is ready to build transmission lines and would like EVN to upgrade the onshore grid to be capable of loading the project’s capacity.

Sebastian also said if waiting for state’s companies to build transmission lines linking the mainland and the sea, the project will be delayed, so the investor would rather build transmission lines itself. The 9.8 cent per kwh is high enough to allow investors to do this. However, the onshore national grid also needs to be upgraded.

As such, many foreign investors have shown their interest in Vietnam’s offshore wind power. They will consult with the Ministry of National Defence before following the next procedures to register projects, and strictly observe all the requirements to be set up by the ministry, ‘if the issues are transparent’.

Meanwhile, some experts still are cautious about offshore wind power projects, saying that a lot of questions remain unanswered. For example, it will be not easy for project developers and EVN to negotiate the conditions to reduce generation capacity if the national grid doesn’t use up all the wind power capacity.

They also said that offshore wind power is not cheap. The currently applied FIT price of VND2,223 per kwh is much higher than the average retail price of VND1,864.44 per kwh. There are still many things to consider when developing offshore wind power, which is clean and stable. 

Luong Bang

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/feature/offshore-wind-power-still-has-great-potential-747831.html

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Businesses dig deep to make sure they come out on other side of pandemic intact

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A customer tries to book a quarantine hotel service on Traveloka app. Traveloka and many businesses in Việt Nam are making efforts to survive the forth wave of COVID-19 pandemic. — Photo

Thu Ngân

HCM CITY — Businesses in Việt Nam are making all efforts to survive the fourth wave of COVID-19 which is battering the country.

Giant food producer KIDO Group said in a recent press release it has adopted a number of solutions to adapt to the new situation and keep production going while also ensuring safety.

A spokesperson told Việt Nam News that to ensure uninterrupted production, the company has adopted the “3 on-site” model, which involves on-site production, dining and rest, for over a month.

It unfailingly complies with the provisions of the Government’s circular No 16 and 5K message, he said.

It is also preparing for life after the pandemic, he said.

“We are ready to bring new products and segments into the market immediately after COVID-19 is controlled.”

It plans to introduce the Vibev brand of products made in collaboration with Vinamilk.

Another plan is to introduce Chuk Chuk, a new food and beverage brand, opening 1,000 stores by 2025.

The company’s general director, Trần Lệ Nguyên, said the first market for Chuk Chuk would be HCM City, and stores would open in Hà Nội and some northern provinces by September if the pandemic is controlled by then, adding it would be present across the country by 2025.

Ride-hailing and delivery company Grab has rolled out a number of programmes to help customers buy foodstuffs.

To ensure the safety of its drivers and customers, it has tied up with the General Department of Vocational Education and Training to fully equip its drivers with the necessary skills and competencies.

They have also jointly built and standardised the training materials, and drawn up communication plans for raising awareness about vocational skills development for drivers.

Trương Anh Dũng, director general of the department, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on the Vietnamese economy, and drivers cannot be immune to it. This partnership helps resolve long-term problems for technological drivers, equipping them with the necessary skills to sustain and improve not only their livelihoods but also the quality of life of themselves and their families.”

Grab also has a programme to support disadvantaged people in HCM City in co-operation with Golden Lotus Foundation. It provides free meals to people economically affected by the pandemic or living in locked-down areas.

To start with, around 11,500 meals would be provided, it said.

Tourism is one of the many sectors badly hit by the pandemic, and many businesses in it have been striving to overcome the challenges they face. 

For instance, before the semi-lockdown began weeks ago some hotels had begun to offer co-working space to provide customers with a safe working environment.

Now, with stricter social distancing regulations, they have changed their strategy and offer quarantine facilities, and this has received strong support from customers.

Recently a Southeast Asian travel and lifestyle superapp, Traveloka, announced that it is working with the HCM City Department of Tourism to help the city’s residents find and book hotels and transportation to enable quarantine. 

Demand for quarantine facilities has increased along with the developments of COVID-19 in HCM City, and its quarantine hotel and transportation online booking and payment solutions are expected to help curb the spread of the pandemic by limiting direct contact between people, Traveloka said. 

They have been available since the start of August. 

Lê Trương Hiền Hoà, director of the HCM City Tourism Promotion Centre, hailed the partnership, saying: “With support from Traveloka, HCM City is the first city in Việt Nam to digitise the quarantine hotel booking process … and will extend it to international arrivals in the near future. 

“It also helps hoteliers switch their business model to survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With the aid of the app’s advanced technologies, customers can easily access complete information about room types, prices and transportation options in real-time, and pay for it via Traveloka. 

Traveloka said it is partnering with more than 80 hotels and selected transportation partners across HCM City, including private cars and shuttle buses. 

MVV Academy, a pioneer organisation for comprehensive, on-site and advanced resource development solutions in Việt Nam, decided to organise training programmes to make its staff sales consultants and brand ambassadors to introduce its products to the public. 

It also recently launched MVV Uni, an advanced training platform that offers working professionals an interactive and flexible experience to support their various learning needs, and acts as a one-stop-shop with courses in all essential business skill sets such as leadership, sales, marketing, management, soft skills, and digital transformation.

“The COVID epidemic has disrupted many human resource training activities at Vietnamese enterprises,” Bùi Đức Quân, CEO of MVV Academy told Việt Nam News.

“Taking advantage of the strength of technology, combined with experience in content building and understanding of learner experience through operating platforms such as TopClass and Everlearn, we quickly built a solution, MVV Uni, to offer enterprises training programmes for their employees during Covid.

“Our ambition is to build a university community on the cloud.” —

 

 

 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1003623/businesses-dig-deep-to-make-sure-they-come-out-on-other-side-of-pandemic-intact.html

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COVID-19 forces banks to accelerate digital transformation

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The COVID-19 pandemic not only creates challenges for banks, but also pushes them to foster digital transformation to survive, experts have said.

COVID-19 forces banks to accelerate digital transformation
A customer makes payment via a QR code. The COVID-19 pandemic pushes bank to foster digital transformation to survive. — Photo laodong.vn

A recent survey by the State Bank of Vietnam found that 95 per cent of credit institutions in Vietnam have either implemented digital transformation strategies or are in the process of formulating them.

It is expected that in the next three to five years digital-only banks will have revenue growth of at least 10 per cent, while regular lenders will have more than 60 per cent of customers using digital transaction channels.

State-owned banks seek to digitise their entire system, while smaller banks have identified certain areas to improve service quality and the customer experience.

Commenting on digital banking development in Vietnam at an online talkshow IDG TekTalk on Tuesday, Phan Viet Hai, director of information technology and also the digital banking centre at Viet Capital Bank, said digital banks must create a superior customer experience by changing the way services are provided using technology.

Nguyen Quang Minh, deputy CEO, partnerships, Timo Digital Bank, said, “In addition to offering perfect and up-to-date financial products and services, we also have to really understand the market, customers’ needs and expectations and more importantly, identify the problems and difficulties they are facing every day in each transaction.”

Pham Quang Minh, general director of Mambu Vietnam, said banking services have changed greatly in the past few years. In Asia, including Vietnam, rising customer expectations for online and mobile banking services are the driving force behind the digital transformation of financial service providers.

Nguyen Van Tuan, deputy general director of VCCorp & founder of Bizfly Digital Transformation, said currently banks are not only competing with each other but also with rapidly growing fintech companies, which have created “amazing” services and experiences through digital technology and transformation.

For succeeding at the digital transformation, the determination shown by a bank’s bosses plays an important role, he said.

“Technology contributes only around 30 per cent to the success with the remaining 70 per cent being owed to other factors like the mindset of businesses’ leaders and digital transformation,” he added.

According to experts, banks still face challenges in digital transformation related to regulations on electronic transactions, data sharing, network security, and an inadequate legal framework among others.

They said completing a comprehensive legal framework would provide a fillip to digital transformation.

The standardisation of technical infrastructure is also very important to facilitate interconnection and seamless integration between the banking industry and others to form a digital eco-system, they added.

Yeo Siang Tiong, cybersecurity company Kaspersky’s general manager for Southeast Asia, said: “Digital transformation, in any sector, always presents new challenges, but especially for banks and for financial services. To put it simply, revolutionising banks’ way of doing transactions means overhauling their legacy systems including people, processes and technologies.”

Humans remain the weakest link, especially those who lack proper awareness of the simplest risks like phishing and spam, while employees require new training and third-party services should be assessed comprehensively, he said.

“When it comes to security, the endpoint should be the foundation and banks should have known this by now. Financial services should be looking at an adaptive approach in security, which should be proactive rather than reactive – ready before an attack happens.” 

Online transaction increases

Due to social distancing restrictions amid the pandemic, online payment has become more convenient than cash, and, with just a smartphone and banking application, users can save, borrow money, pay for electricity, water, television, and internet bills, buy movie and airplane tickets, make hotel reservations, or even buy vegetables or meat online.

Pham Tien Dung, head of the State Bank of Vietnam’s payment department, said online transactions in the first four months of the year jumped by 66 per cent in terms of numbers and 31.2 per cent in value year-on-year, including 86.3 per cent and 123.1 per cent on mobile phones and 95.7 per cent and 181.5 per cent using QR codes.

Statistics from the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam, show that in the first five months its automatic clearing house processed over 800 million transactions worth over VND8 quadrillion ($347.7 billion), an increase of 113 per cent and 169 per cent.

A recent survey by Visa also revealed strong increases in the use of e-wallets, contactless payment via cards and smartphones and QR Code. The year-on-year growth rate of the total e-commerce transaction value in the first quarter of 2021 rose by 5.5 times compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.

Source: Vietnam News

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/covid-19-forces-banks-to-accelerate-digital-transformation-763095.html

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COVID-19 affects progress of power transmission projects

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Workers at a construction site of a power transmission project. — VNA/ Illustrative Photo

Bùi Văn Kiên, deputy general director of the National Power Transmission Corporation (EVNNPT) talked to Vietnamplus.vn about solutions to remove difficulties and promote the disbursement of public investment as well as production and business amid the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading in many parts of the country. How does this affect the progress of power transmission projects?

Many provinces and cities are now under social distancing. The pandemic has greatly affected the management, administration and implementation of power projects.

EVNNPT units can not work with the local government to implement the projects due to social distancing.

Consulting units face difficulties in travelling, conducting field surveys, measurements and applying for forest conversion to other purposes.

Localities can also hardly implement compensation for site clearance projects.

Isolation regulations has also affected the purchasing, supply of materials and construction. While goods transportation services from abroad to Việt Nam are not available due to the pandemic. 

In addition, the price of construction materials is still increasing due to the impact of the pandemic, affecting the selection of contractors and the performance of related contracts. 

What has EVNNPT done to ensure the dual goals of both construction investment and pandemic prevention?

In order to ensure the dual goals, EVNNPT has sent many documents to the People’s Committees of provinces and cities, requesting continued coordination in implementing compensation for site clearance, creating favourable conditions for employees and  contractors in travelling, transporting materials and equipment and construction. So many difficulties and obstacles have been removed.

The units have also applied information technology in management, administration as well as handling problems arising during the implementation of projects by online meetings.

EVNNPT has requested consulting contractors to have appropriate solutions to reduce the impact on project progress such as hiring qualified subcontractors, and cooperating with other units.

Thanks to those efforts, EVNNPT has completed many power projects in Pleiku, Đắk Nông, Lai Châu, Thanh Hóa and Ninh Thuận.

For urgent power projects to be completed in 2021, especially renewable energy projects, what has EVNNPT done to ensure the projects are completed on time?

For key and urgent projects, EVNNPT has established a steering committee to run these projects smoothly, minimising the time to deal with related works. We regularly review the progress of projects to promptly solve problems that arise during implementation.

What recommendations does the corporation have for the Government to deal with difficulties?

The negative impact of the pandemic on the progress of power transmission projects is huge.

In order to help EVNNPT soon remove difficulties and complete projects on time, we expect the Government, ministries and local authorities to identify the electricity industry as an essential service, related to national energy security, socio-economy and people’s lives.

We hope that the travelling of workers and the transportation of equipment and materials for construction will be facilitated when meeting pandemic prevention regulations.

Ministries and agencies should soon have support policies due to the increased prices of supplies and materials as well as consider exempting responsibility for EVNNPT when it fails to meet the progress of projects due to the pandemic.

The People’s Committees of provinces and cities should also direct local departments, agencies and units to closely coordinate with EVNNPT and the project management boards to implement works related to power line routing, forest conversion and compensation for ground clearance. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1003784/covid-19-affects-progress-of-power-transmission-projects.html

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