The geothermal energy industry in Vietnam is still in its infancy stage. Most industry activities consist of research programs. But with 264 sources of hot water nationwide, this Southeast Asian country shows great potential for prospective geothermal power projects.
One factor standing in the way of Vietnam's geothermal growth is the lack of specific regulatory regime for renewable energy. The current law governing renewable energy in Vietnam is the general Law on the Economical and Effective Use of Energy or the revised Law on Electricity. This is expected to change with the reported imminent creation of a separate law on renewable energy (and with it, geothermal energy).
Pioneer geothermal power project
The country's first geothermal power project (18.6 MW), found in Quang Ngai province (Thanh Tru village, Duc Lan ward, Mo Duc district), began development in 2007. On 29 July 2008, the project's investor, PetroVietnam Power Corporation, presented to the Vice Chairman of Quang Ngai province the technical facts and figures of the project, which involves of the use of the technology of ORMAT.
This project serves as a stepping stone to the future of geothermal energy development in Vietnam. PetroVietnam Power Corporation has not announced the investment capital of the first project, but has disclosed that it is presently processing surveys and exploration on the flow of a hot water stream in Nghia Thang ward, Tu Nghia district (Quang Ngai province) to accelerate the investment procedures for its next geothermal power project.
Vietnam's geothermal resources remain largely untapped, making it a fertile ground for power projects.
With no specific regulations providing details or guidelines for project development, however, the implementation of geothermal power projects should observe the general rules on investment, as well as relevant regulations that apply to power projects.