In Solar Buzz

By ATSUSHI TOMIYAMA,  for Nikkei Asian Review

HANOI — Numerous projects to build large solar power facilities are underway in Vietnam, as the country scrambles to make up for the anticipated power shortage due to the recent cancellation of nuclear power plant construction projects. Thien Tan Group will by 2020 spend $2 billion to build five large solar power plants in the southern province of Ninh Thuan. A 50 megawatts solar plant will start operating this year, followed by four plants generating 200-300MW each. The five solar plants will generate an estimated 1 gigawatts, equivalent to the total power output of a nuclear reactor.

The Vietnamese government had planned to build two nuclear power plants with Russia and Japan in the province. Japanese nuclear power plant manufacturers and power companies aimed to win contracts, but the plan was cancelled in November 2016 due to the hefty up-front costs of several billion dollars per reactor.

Ninh Thuan Province — which is blessed with ample sunshine and abundant idle land — is highly suitable for solar power generation. The province is trying to attract solar power plants as an alternative to nuclear. The province plans to attract 4.85GW worth of large solar power plants by 2030.

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