Another blow for coal as Vietnam signals retreat


In yet another blow for the global coal industry, Vietnam has signalled its retreat from this dirty energy source. In a statement, Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng said his government would review plans for new coal power plants, saying it will instead look to gas and renewables to power its electricity grid. The latest news comes during an increasingly bleak period for the global coal industry, which has seen China announce huge mine closures, Indian coal imports and US coal production fall and more major coal players file for bankruptcy.


Key Points

  • Smart governments are moving away from coal. As governments’ pledge to end the fossil fuel era is translated into “implementation and action,” increasing renewables is the best hope of putting the “Paris climate goals within reach,” marking an increasingly bleak outlook for coal. Vietnam follows in the footsteps of a host of other governments including China, the US and the UK all taking steps to move away from the dirty energy source.
  • Betting on renewables, over coal, makes both economic and climate sense. Investment in renewables, and renewable energy’s market share, are bounding upwards, making countries wealthier and healthier. This leaves those governments continuing to cling to dirty coal with nowhere to hide as they find themselves facing the consequences of their dirty choices that increase damage to their economy, health and communities.




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Key Quotes

  • “We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to move the country away from coal. However we understand that the revised Power Development Planning VII, due to be released in the coming days, will still have a significant percentage of new coal plants. If the Prime Minister is serious about moving away from coal, we hope that the government will comprehensively reassess all proposed coal plants and put in place policies to rapidly accelerate the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency. In addition, all existing and new coal plants should be fitted with pollution controls and higher efficiency standards in line with international best practice.” – Nguy Thi Khanh, Executive Director of GreenID, a Hanoi-based NGO working to promote sustainable energy in Vietnam
  • “It is encouraging to see the Vietnamese government’s intention to transition its electricity markets consistent with the strategies currently being implemented by China and India. Energy security is one of the most pressing needs of any country and adding wind, solar and energy efficiency builds domestic energy security. The structural decline of the seaborne thermal coal market is increasingly evident from the trends in China and India. The indication that one of the leading coal developers in Southeast Asia is going to retreat from new coal plants further signals the terminal decline of the global coal industry.” – Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

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