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PM requests overall review of solar power development




A rooftop solar power project on Vạn Hoa Hotel, District 5, HCM City, constructed by Red Sun Solar Company. — VNA/ Photo Đức Dũng

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has instructed the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), localities and Vietnam Electricity (EVN), to review issues related to solar power development.

In document No. 185 / TTg-CN, the PM said he has signed decisions to implement the Vietnam Renewable Energy Development Strategy to 2030.

They include decision No. 13/2020 / QĐ -TTg on the mechanism to encourage the development of solar power in Việt Nam and document No. 414 / TTg-CN in April 2020 to direct the implementation of the decision, in which MoIT and relevant ministries, branches and localities are required to strictly and transparently manage planning and investment in solar power development in Việt Nam and to fight against negativity and corruption and strictly punish any such cases.

In July 2020, the MoIT issued a circular on project development and standard power purchase and sale contracts applicable to solar power projects with specific guidelines for rooftop solar development. 

According to the PM’s directive, in recent years, the development of solar power in Việt Nam has achieved many positive results and strongly attracted investment, contributing to the efficient exploitation of solar energy sources that could ensure electricity supply and security in the country.

EVN’s statistics said by the end of 2020, the total power capacity in the national power system excluding rooftop solar power reached more than 62,000 MW, of which, the capacity of solar power sources on the ground reached 8,838 MW. The rooftop solar power supply capacity was approximately 8,000 MW by the end of 2020. 

However, the document said: “Uncontrolled rooftop solar power development in line with electricity demand, especially in December 2020, caused difficulties in the operation of the national power system while the COVID-19 pandemic had a strong impact on our country’s economic growth, leading to a decrease in the demand for electricity.”

Due to the above factors, since last month, EVN had to develop and implement a plan to cut solar power and other renewable energy in the national power system, causing wasted social resources and anxiety among many investors, said the PM.

To ensure the development of solar power in accordance with regulations and promote overall efficiency, PM Phúc asked the MoIT to assume the prime responsibility and coordinate with the People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities, EVN and relevant agencies to urgently review the implementation of current terrestrial and rooftop solar power projects and to guide implementation in accordance with the promulgated mechanism and regulations.

The document also asked them to research and immediately handle unexpected problems arising in the development of solar power, especially rooftop solar power. 

The document requested relevant authorities to carry out inspections and supervision of rooftop solar power development in localities and power companies to ensure compliance with regulations to rectify and handle mistakes if any, especially profiting from policies in the deployment of rooftop solar power. 

At the same time, PM Phúc told ministries and people’s committees to research and propose the most effective management measures for renewable energy sources, especially solar energy, avoiding loopholes.

He told MoIT, EVN and localities to develop measures to minimise the reduction of planned renewable energy sources as well as minimise the economic losses of investors and wasted renewable energy sources in Việt Nam.

Those places must be responsible for the overall review of current power sources currently deployed and update the power supply-demand balance in the future to strengthen the management and complete procedures to submit the Power Planning Project VIII to PM Phúc on schedule. 

He told them to avoid massive development of solar power without a plan and lack of control, causing overloading of the regional power grid and negative consequences in the future. —



High logistic costs hinder Delta agriculture exports




High cost of air transport and the inability to preserve fresh produce for a long time are among the logistic challenges that the Mekong Delta is facing. – Photo

MEKONG DELTA – Agriculture exports from the Mekong Delta are facing logistical challenges, affecting their competitiveness overseas.

Đồng Văn Thanh, chairman of Hậu Giang Province People’s Committee, said the Mekong Delta exports millions of tonnes of agriculture products every year but the region is facing many logistical choke-points.

The region is lacking key logistics hubs and storage areas for empty containers and products at ports. Goods have to be transported through many areas before reaching HCM City for export, which increases the cost.

Ngô Tường Vy, deputy director of Chánh Thu Fruit Export and Import Co. Ltd in Bến Tre Province, said that the cost of air transport of fresh fruits to the US and European markets have increased greatly over the years.

For example, the cost for air shipping fresh fruits to the US used to be around US$3.5 per kilo a few years ago, but now has risen to $6 per kilo.

This is affecting their competitiveness overseas and reducing the amount of fruit shipped there.

However, since preservation technology for many fruit products is not good enough, they have to rely on air transport.

The cost of ocean transport of fruit is 15 times cheaper than air, so better preservation technology to maintain quality on longer container trips is important, she said.

Phạm Tiến Hoài, general director of Hanh Nguyen Logistics, said that the logistics costs of Việt Nam’s agricultural products are high, usually accounting for around 30 per cent of their final prices, so they struggle to compete with goods from other suppliers such as China, Thailand and Indonesia.

Võ Thanh Phong, general director of Hậu Giang Maritime Service Co.Ltd , said the Government needs to continue its effort to improve and enlarge waterways in the Mekong Delta so that large vessels can easily travel through different regions, reducing transport time and costs.

Lê Tiến Châu, provincial party secretary of Hậu Giang, said that for 2021 – 2026 the province will invest around VNĐ18 trillion ($777.99 million) to improve traffic infrastructure and region connectivity.

Every year the Mekong Delta accounts for 90 per cent of the country’s rice exports, and 70 per cent of fruit exports. –


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Danang suspends BRT project due to its ineffectiveness



A BRT bus is seen at a bus station in Hanoi. The government of Danang City has decided to suspend its BRT project as the investment in the project has yet to bring about social advantages for the coastal central city – PHOTO: TPO

HCMC – The government of Danang City has decided to suspend its bus rapid transit (BRT) project as the investment in the project has yet to bring about social advantages for the coastal central city.

Huynh Anh Vu, deputy director of the Danang City Management Board of Prioritized Infrastructure Investment Projects, which is the project’s developer and operator, confirmed that the management board had reached a consensus with the World Bank, which serves as the lender of the project, on its suspension.

Instead, the management board will focus on completing works related to the development of subsidized bus routes in the city, Vu said, as reported by Lao Dong newspaper.

The decision is considered as the right move as the city’s transport infrastructure system still remains inadequate and measures taken to encourage the use of public means of transport among local residents have not proved effective.

The move was strongly backed by the locals and some of them cited the examples of other localities where trillions of dong were poured into BRT projects but they had failed to address traffic congestion and caused losses to the State budget.

In 2013, the Government approved a master project to develop Danang sustainably with five components: improving the rainwater and drainage system, piloting the BRT system, developing key urban roads, enhancing the capacity and supporting the execution of projects and works transferred from prioritized infrastructure investment projects.

The master project was expected to be completed in June this year, but it has been 84% complete to date with US$185 million spent. Specifically, the BRT project has been 33% complete, while the remaining components have basically been finalized.


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Some coastal hotels report full occupancy as tourists are on the rise



Tourists play outdoor games at a resort. Many hotels in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province have reported full occupancy as the number of tourists is on the rise – PHOTO: LDO

HCMC – Many hotels in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province have reported full occupancy as the number of tourists is on the rise, though the holidays of April 30 and May 1 are still a while away, signaling good news for the tourism sector.

Nguyen Van Tuan, manager of Long Hai Hotel in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, told Lao Dong Online that over the past one year, the hotel saw few guests and its highest occupancy rate at a mere 20%. However, for some days last week, the number of tourists who booked rooms at the hotel surged, with the occupancy rate at 90%.

For April 17 and 18, the hotel is fully booked, and it is the first time since the coronavirus pandemic that the hotel is seeing some 100 rooms in total fully booked, Tuan said, adding that the hotel was fully booked three weeks ago for the Reunification Day, April 30.

Last weekend, many guests fully booked rooms at Vietsovpetro Ho Tram, said a representative of the resort.

Many hotels at sea tourist destinations near HCMC such as Ho Tram, Long Hai, Vung Tau and Mui Ne are seeing the number of guests soar on weekends.

Do Van Thuc, deputy director of Dat Viet Tour, said that the firm had received rising tour bookings on weekends.

Recently, Dat Viet Tour has been seeing an average 1,500 guests book weekend tours to the sea each week, some 200 kilometers from HCMC, he said.

Apart from this, since March, when the coronavirus outbreak was brought under control in Vietnam, Alo Limo, a transport firm, has become busier on weekends, said Le Gia Thanh Tam, a representative of Alo Limo.

Over the past few weeks, each week has seen some 10-15 groups of tourists book limousines for their trips, mainly to Dalat, Phan Thiet and Vung Tau, Tam said.


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