This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data
Last Published: 7/12/2018


Industry Structure

Electric power represents one of the most promising areas for U.S. commercial prospects in Vietnam. Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), a state-owned enterprise that reports directly to the Prime Minister, is the largest buyer of electricity, and holds a monopoly on transmission and distribution. Electric power is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT). The Vietnamese government relies on the national power development plans to advance the sector, which forecast growth in demand and map out the overall development of the power industry to meet demand ten years out.

Power Consumption

The country’s robust industrialization process has fueled a surging demand for energy in general and electricity. The GVN expects electricity consumption to grow by 10-12 percent annually through 2020 while the Economic Intelligent Unit estimated that demand for electricity will expand by 4.2% a year between 2018 and 2022, exceeding 191,700 GWh. This demand is attributed to increasing industrial and residential use. Power shortages are expected during this period if adequate measures are not taken to increase the supply accordingly. It is also estimated that an additional capacity of 4,000 MW will be required per year on average from now through 2020 to meet demand, requiring an estimated $19.1 billion of investment for infrastructure by 2035.

Power Generation

In the revised Power Development Plan VII (PDP 7), released in 2017, installed power-generation capacity in Vietnam amounts to 42.13 GW, of which 37.6 percent is hydropower and 34.3 percent is coal-fired thermal power. It also sets out $148 billion worth of investments to increase power generation and develop the electricity network, with $40 billion to be spent in the period 2016-2020, of which 75 percent is to be directed to power sources and 25 percent to grid development.

Electricity Pricing

The government strictly regulates the retail price, recommended by MOIT and requiring approval by the Prime Minister. A unified tariff is applicable across the country and is low in comparison with other countries in the region. Both urban and rural residential rates are cross subsidized by higher rates for industry, commerce, and foreign consumers. To attract more investment from the private sector in developing IPP projects, MOIT and EVN have been working on a roadmap for price increases and the gradual elimination of government control. By current regulations, EVN may increase or decrease within a margin of up to 5 percent, twice a year without approval from MOIT or the Prime Minister when the input parameters (fuel price, foreign exchange rates, generation mix, competitive power generation market price) change significantly.

Independent Power Producers (IPPs)

Vietnam currently has 73 power plants (hydro, thermal, gas, renewables source) and 48 of those with capacity greater than 30MW. As EVN’s self-financing and other sources of debt financing only meet about 66 percent of the total investment requirement, IPPs are expected to carry a large portion of the investment in the power generation sector, including those to be developed by foreign investors. Now, only one U.S. company, AES Corporation, is an IPP and has invested in Mong Duong 2 Power Plant in Quang Ninh Province. This is a $2.1 billion coal-fired power plant with a capacity of 1,240 MW. Mong Duong 2 is the largest foreign invested power project in Vietnam and the country’s first private power plant commissioned in the last ten years, per Vietnam Investment Review. AES contributed a 51 percent share. According to Asian Development Bank (ADB), PV Power (a PetroVietnam subsidiary) and Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) represent 16 percent of total national power generation capacity and another 29 percent generated by other IPP/BOT schemes.

Transmission and Distribution

The State shall only maintain its monopoly of electricity transmission grid(s) to ensure the national energy security. EVN operates a power distribution system of about 115,659km of 6kV, 10kV, 15kV, 22kV and 35kV lines, with a total capacity of 3,662 megavolt-amperes (MVA) and 109,199km of 220V lines with a total capacity of 32,061MVA. According to EVN 2017 Annual Report, Vietnam has 7,446km 500 kV lines, 16,071km 220 kV lines, 26,100MVA 500-kV transformers, 41,538MVA 220 kV-transformers. EVN reports that 100% of the districts were connected to electricity; 99.7% of the communes with 98.69% of rural households have access to the power grid with a target reaching close to 100 percent by 2020. These figures may be exaggerated but were according to the plan

Projected Expansion of the Power Transmission System

In the Revised PDP 7, Vietnam also aims to upgrade its power grid and reach the N-1 reliability standard for key equipment items by 2020. In addition to the transmission system, Vietnam developed an investment plan for the period 2011-2020 with the total capacity of 48,900 MVA for substation (S/S) and 8,219 km of transmission lines (T/L) corresponding to the total investment of $4.3 billion. With major investments, Vietnam is expected to have an increased demand for control and protection equipment and devices such as power transformers, circuit breakers, disconnect switches, capacitors, calculated software, and telecommunication and information technology equipment.

Renewable Energy

PDP 7 revised the priorities developing renewable energy in wind power, solar power, and biomass power. Projections are to increase the percentage of renewable energy power to 7 percent by 2020 and 10 percent by 2030. According to the Vietnam Energy Association, if the country does not make progress in boosting the share of renewables in its energy mix, the proportion of energy that Vietnam needs to import in 2030 will rise from around 3 percent of primary energy demand to as much as 44 percent, instead of the targeted 24 percent.

A study by the World Bank estimated that 8.6 percent of Vietnam’s land mass could be used for wind power. The country has an estimated total wind power potential between 24.0 GW and 26.7 GW. The PDP 7 set a target to increase the combined capacity of all wind power plants to 800 MW by 2020 and 6000 MW by 2030 and to raise the percentage of wind power from almost zero to 0.8 percent by 2020 and 2.1 percent by 2030. However, the wind-power capacity stood at just 190 MW in 2016.

Since the completion of the first wind power project of 24 MW Phu Lac plant in Binh Thuan province in 2016, Thuan Binh Wind Power JSC, an EVN’s affiliate, has developed another 30 MW Loi Hai wind power project. The power plant will begin operation in 2018. EVN has also approved the investment in two new wind power projects, Huong Phung of 30 MW in Quang Tri province and Cong Hai of 25 MW in Ninh Thuan province, to be developed by EVNGENCO2.

Low feed-in-tariffs and an underdeveloped regulatory environment continues to hinder investments. In 2014 the GVN increased the feed-in-tariff for renewable power generated from solid waste plants to $0.105 per KW/h. The GVN issued Decision 37/2011/QD-TTg outlining incentives for wind power development, under which EVN will pay $0.068 per KWh and the State will contribute $0.01 per KWh, allowing investors to receive a total $0.078 cents per KWh. There have been 50 wind power projects in 15 provinces with a total capacity of 5,000 MW registered. Only three projects with a total of 50 MW have been added to the national grid due to appropriate feed-in-tariffs and investment capital.

Following the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 11/2017/QD-TTg dated April 11, 2017, on solar power development in Vietnam, the government approved a new FIT for solar power which is $.0938, effective from June 2017. EVN has also planned for investment in several solar power projects in the Southern provinces of Vietnam such as Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Kon Tum, Dong Nai, Gia Lai, Binh Phuoc with a total capacity of 870 MW. As outlined in the PDP 7, Vietnam is aiming to increase the installed capacity of solar power to 850 MW by 2020, 4,000 MW by 2025 and 12,000 MW by 2030

Nuclear Power

In November of 2016, the Vietnamese government decided to postpone its nuclear power program.

Encouragement and Challenges

The Government of Vietnam’s policies are to diversify investment sources, encourage foreign investors in power development with BOT, BOO, and PPP. However, Vietnam faces several challenges; electricity prices are still low, existing thermal power plants are unable to buy coal at an economical price, leading to unattractiveness of new power plant projects. The procedures for investors under BOT arrangements are still complicated with insufficient guidelines and equipment prices have increased, leading to increased production costs which reduces the financial attraction of power generation projects.

Investment Requirements

EVN estimates that around $123.8 billion will be channeled into the development of the national power system within the next twenty years. Spending was estimated in PDP 7 average $6.8 billion per year. Of this, 66 percent will be spent on power plants and the remaining 33.4 percent on network development. EVN has received preferential loans with total amount of $1 billion in 2016 from international financial organizations (World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Cooperation Agency of Japan (JICA), and German Bank for Reconstruction (KfW)). In addition, EVN has been working with the French Development Agency (AfD) to provide EVN with two new loans for Se San 4 Solar Power Plant and Ialy Hydropower Plant Extension projects. World Bank and Asian Development Bank are the two largest donors.

In June 2014, the World Bank approved a $200 million loan and $70 million credit for the Vietnamese government in support of power sector reforms, climate resistance. and lower carbon intensity development. ADB has approved a multi-tranche loan of $730 million to upgrade Vietnam’s electricity transmission network between now and June 2020. The loan will finance the construction of more than 860km of power lines and to provide funds for training and other activities to Vietnam's state-owned National Power Transmission Corporation (NPT). Vietnam plans to invest in and up to 98 power plants with a total capacity of 59,444 MW, of which EVN would build 48 power plants with 33,245 MW, with an estimated total investment of $39.6 billion.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The power generation market can be divided into five segments: (1) consulting and engineering services, including project management, (2) installation and construction services, (3) machinery, equipment, and materials, (4) supply of equipment, spare parts, materials, consumables, and overhaul and maintenance services (aftermarket), and (5) investment in new IPP power projects in the form of BOT, BT, BTO and JV.

The power transmission and distribution market has four main areas: (1) consulting and engineering services, project management, (2) installation and construction services, (3) high, medium, and low voltage electrical equipment for the national grid, and (4) medium and low voltage electrical equipment for industrial, institutional and household users.
In the Department of Commerce’s Renewable Energy Top Markets for U.S. Exports 2016 report, Vietnam wind power generation market ranks number 28. The country is regarded to have an unmatched supply of wind resources in Southeast Asia, which could thrive under the right energy policies.


USTDA has funded nearly 80 activities valued at $20 million in Vietnam over the last 20 years. Vietnam represents the Agency’s largest country portfolio in Southeast Asia. Through feasibility studies, technical assistance and pilot projects, USTDA Project Development Program helps oversee project sponsors, identify technological solutions, and various sources of financing for priority infrastructure projects. Working with Electricity Vietnam (EVN) and its subsidiary, the National Power Transmission Corporation (EVN-NPT), USTDA is supporting the development of an Information Technology and Smart Grid Roadmap. U.S. companies will find significant business opportunities in the above market segments, including:

  • Equipment sales for ongoing and upcoming power generation projects, and gas-fired and renewable power.

  • Investment in IPP projects in the form of BOT, BT, BTO and JV.

  • EVN/NPT-funded power transmission and distribution projects.

Web Resources

The following Web sites may be valuable resources for U.S. companies interested in exploring business development opportunities in Vietnam’s electric power industry.
Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN):
PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power):
Vietnam National Coal - Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited  VINACOMIN)

For more information please contact:
Tuyet Trees, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Embassy in Hanoi
Nam Tran, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Consulate General in HCMC



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Vietnam Energy Trade Development and Promotion