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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        29  March 2011

Vietnam promotes energy efficiency

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Nam Dinh Water Supply Company's decision to invest VND700 million (US$42,000) in new pumping technologies in 2005 has paid off.

The state-owned company, which provides water to 86,000 households and 950 enterprises in Nam Dinh City and surrounding districts, 90km south of Hanoi, was able to save about 0.03kWh of electricity per cubic metre of water processed.

According to company deputy director Luu Van Ke, it only costs 0.29kWh of electricity to process 1cu.m of water now whereas it had been 0.32kWh before the new pumps were installed.

"With the electricity price going up, the investment has saved us a lot of money," he said. The company supplies on average 1million cubic metres of water per month. That means about VND45 million ($2,200) is saved on its monthly electricity bill.

The company is among various organisations and individuals across the country that followed the Government's appeal for efficient energy consumption over the last six years.

The latest report from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) indicates that Viet Nam saved 3.4 per cent in energy consumption in the 2006-10 period, the equivalent of 4.9 million tonnes of oil (TOE).

"The figure is far from being impressive but of great significance, given that the demand for power has been on a sharp rise," said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong at a meeting last Friday.

Despite a low record of consumed energy per capita in comparison to other countries in the world, Vietnam's average annual growth rate of energy demand has been 12 percent since 1990. The amount of energy saved so far has met the target set by the 10-year Viet Nam Energy Efficiency Programme, which started in 2006. The Government programme is aimed at reducing national energy consumption by 3-5 percent in the 2006-10 period and by 5-8 percent between 2011 and 2015.

In comparison to the region, Viet Nam's energy intensity, which refers to the cost of converting energy into the country's GDP, is usually 1.5-1.7 times higher than that of Thailand and Malaysia.

An anonymous MoIT official said worn-out technologies, inadequate awareness, the high proportion of intensive energy-consuming industries as a whole and the lack of strong policies were to blame.

"The existence of the new energy efficiency law is a good sign but how to implement it will be another story," he said.

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