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Vietnam's coal usage and emissions set brand-new records: Maguire

Coal use, imports and coalfired emissions have all climbed to tape-record highs in Vietnam this year regardless of ongoing efforts to roll out tidy generation capability across the nation.

The continuing growth in coal dependence in Vietnam highlights the trouble of dislodging coal from the power systems of fast-growing nations that count on cheap and abundant energy sources to create financial competitiveness.


Vietnam has been a major beneficiary of the re-routing of supply chains far from China over the last few years, and has actually seen rapid development in its production base and national exports as business develop and expand production in the country.

In action, Vietnam's gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow by twice the global average through 2029, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

But in order to ensure sufficient low-cost energy for this fast-growing production sector, Vietnam's power producers have actually had to prioritize the expansion of fossil fuel-powered generation over power sector decarbonization efforts, which stay part of longer-term prepare for the nation.

The rapid swell in coal usage has actually seen Vietnam overtake South Korea in coal-fired emissions this year, and has put it on track to finish 2024 as the fourth-largest coal emitter in Asia behind China, India and Japan.


Coal created a record 64.6% share of Vietnam's electrical energy generation in April, according to energy think tank Cinder, which is up greatly from an average generation share of 46% for 2023.

Over the very first four months of 2024, overall coal-fired electrical energy generation was 57 terawatt hours (TWh), which was 42.5% more than during the exact same months in 2023.

Resulting emissions were up 34% to 53.6 million metric loads of carbon dioxide (CO2), Ember data shows.

An essential motorist behind this year's rise in coal usage has been an uncommonly steep decline in electrical energy generation from hydro dams, which accounted for approximately around 15% of electrical power output up until now this year compared to 25% throughout the exact same period in 2023.

Vietnam's power firms have likewise trimmed output from natural gas through April by about 15% from the same months in 2023.

The decreased output from hydro and gas plants has helped cement coal's status as the leading source of power in Vietnam, especially during the current heat wave across Asia that boosted demand for cooling throughout the region.


To equal the sped up coal burn in power stations, Vietnam enhanced thermal coal imports by 71% over the initially 5 months of 2024 from the same period in 2023, data from Kpler shows.

The 17.8 million metric lots of thermal coal delivered in by Vietnam through May marks a more than 7 million load increase from the very same duration a year ago, and indicates the nation has actually imported more than 55% of 2023's full-year overall in only 5 months.

Vietnam's coal import rise contrasted with contractions in coal purchases up until now this year in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, and guaranteed that Vietnam increased its share of worldwide thermal imports to around 4.3% up until now this year from an average of 3.1% in 2023.

If the recent spell of above-normal temperature levels continues through the coming months, extra imports are likely, and imply that Vietnam's previous annual record tally of 33.1 million heaps set in 2020 might be eclipsed this year.

As Vietnam is currently on track to set new annual records in coal-fired generation and emissions, setting a brand-new coal import record would round out the country's status as a significant and growing gamer in worldwide coal markets despite ongoing efforts to cut coal use elsewhere. << The viewpoints expressed here are those of the author, a. writer .>