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

Coal use, imports and coalfired emissions have all reached tape-record highs in Vietnam this year despite ongoing efforts to present clean generation capability throughout the nation.

The continuing growth in coal reliance in Vietnam highlights the problem of removing coal from the power systems of fast-growing nations that count on cheap and plentiful energy sources to create financial competitiveness.


Vietnam has been a significant beneficiary of the re-routing of supply chains away from China over the last few years, and has actually seen fast development in its manufacturing base and national exports as business establish and expand production in the country.

In reaction, Vietnam's gdp (GDP) is projected to grow by two times the worldwide average through 2029, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

However in order to guarantee adequate inexpensive energy for this fast-growing production sector, Vietnam's power manufacturers have needed to focus on the expansion of fossil fuel-powered generation over power sector decarbonization efforts, which stay part of longer-term plans for the nation.

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


Coal produced a record 64.6% share of Vietnam's electricity generation in April, according to energy think tank Ash, which is up greatly from a typical generation share of 46% for 2023.

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

Resulting emissions were up 34% to 53.6 million metric tons of co2 (CO2), Cinder information shows.

An essential chauffeur behind this year's surge in coal usage has been an unusually high decline in electrical energy generation from hydro dams, which represented approximately around 15% of electrical power output so far this year compared to 25% throughout the very same period in 2023.

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

The decreased output from hydro and gas plants has assisted cement coal's status as the leading power source in Vietnam, particularly during the recent heat wave across Asia that increased need for air conditioning throughout the area.


To keep pace with the accelerated coal burn in power stations, Vietnam enhanced thermal coal imports by 71% over the initially five months of 2024 from the same period in 2023, information from Kpler programs.

The 17.8 million metric tons of thermal coal shipped in by Vietnam through May marks a more than 7 million lot increase from the same duration a year ago, and indicates the country has imported more than 55% of 2023's full-year total in just 5 months.

Vietnam's coal import surge 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 international thermal imports to around 4.3% so far this year from an average of 3.1% in 2023.

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

As Vietnam is currently on track to set brand-new yearly records in coal-fired generation and emissions, setting a new coal import record would round out the nation's status as a major and growing player in global coal markets despite ongoing efforts to cut coal usage in other places. << The opinions revealed here are those of the author, a. columnist .>