Irish wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power has clinched agreements with Vietnamese partners to build and operate three wind power projects in Vietnam with a total investment of $2.2 billion, as the Southeast Asian country looks to reduce reliance on fossils.
The deals were signed earlier this week in the presence of Irish President Michael Higgins, who started a visit to Vietnam on November 6.
The three wind farms would generate an annual total of 940 megawatts (MW) of power. This will the first investment in Asia for the Irish firm.
Mainstream Renewable Power would partner with GE Energy Financial Services and local firm Phu Cuong Group in its main Vietnam project, an 800 MW wind farm that will cost $2 billion, in the southern province of Soc Trang.
The first phase of the project, with a capacity of 150-200 MW, is expected to reach financial close in 2018, the firm said.
Mainstream will also partner with Vietnam's Pacific Corporation in two other projects in Binh Thuan
, also in the south of the country, with a combined 138 MW in capacity and $200 million in investment. The first phase of these projects is also likely to reach financial close in 2018.
Irish President Michael Higgins, third from left, and his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang, fourth from right, witness the signing of a wind power project in Hanoi on Nov. 7, 2016. Photo: Tran Van Minh/AP
“In terms of energy needs and requirements, Vietnam is one of the fastest growing markets in south-east Asia. Investing in Vietnam is very much aligned with our aim of developing large-scale renewable energy projects in high-growth economies with significant demand for new-build power generation,” said Mainstream Chief Operating Officer Andy Kinsella.
Vietnam's electricity demand is expected to grow 10.6% annually in the next five years, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Vietnam mainly relies on coal and hydropower and is seeking to boost renewable energy production from a target of 7% in 2020 to more than 10% cent by 2030 of total energy demand.
During a dialogue between the two countries’ presidents, Vietnam and Ireland also agreed to increase their cooperation in education, information technology and health care.