The Scottish government is committed to expanding the Scotland-Vietnam relationship as the power-hungry Southeast Asian nation hopes to expand its nascent offshore wind sector. Significantly, there will be increasing opportunities for Scottish companies as Vietnam eyes offshore wind development in deeper waters.
During COP26, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had a productive meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh with offshore wind featuring prominently as one of the key sectors for closer collaboration.
Sturgeon told Chinh that Scotland is willing to share its offshore wind power development experience after Vietnam asked that Scotland supports its transition to offshore wind. Vietnam is seeking help in the areas of investment, as well as human resource training, whereby Scotland could grant scholarships for students or send over experts.
“To be honest there is not much Scottish involvement in Vietnam’s offshore wind development at present. BVG Associates, a Scottish headquartered energy consultancy, was involved in writing Vietnam’s offshore wind roadmap commissioned by the World Bank’s ESMAP programme,” Kevin Liu, head of energy, Asia Pacific, at Scottish Development International (SDI), told Energy Voice.
“So far, Vietnam’s offshore wind projects have been inter-tidal, beach or very shallow water, hence there isn’t a significant requirement for Scotland’s offshore and subsea expertise,” added Liu.
But “that will certainly change as Vietnamese projects move into deeper waters, and Scottish companies will be very placed to support those, particularly from regional operating hubs in Singapore and Taiwan where there is a growing community of Scottish offshore wind supply chain companies,” said Liu.
Wind power has significant room for growth in Vietnam as a scalable alternative to the expansion of thermal coal, which provides the bulk of the country’s power. “Vietnam enjoys enviable natural potential for wind capacity, with 3,000 kilometers of coastline and winds that blow from 5.5 to 7.3 meters per second. The biggest opportunity for massive wind-power generation sits offshore,” reported McKinsey, a consultancy.
According to the World Bank, estimates of Vietnam’s offshore wind potential range up to 500 gigawatts. By comparison, Germany, a leader in wind power, currently has about 62 gigawatts of total installed wind capacity, of which about eight gigawatts are offshore, added McKinsey.