VIETNAM – SOLAR POWER BREAKING NEWS – EXTENSION PROPOSAL BY MINISTRY OF PLANNING AND INVESTMENT OF DEADLINE FOR FEED IN TARIFF REJECTED – WHAT YOU MUST KNOW

Last June, the whole solar energy industry rocked (and became excited!) with the news that the Deputy Prime Minister, in one of his meetings with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) on 20 June 2018, has agreed in principle that the COD extension for solar energy projects under the Decision 11 shall be extended beyond the original deadline of 30 June 2019. According to Vietnam’s political tradition, this development would normally mean the subsequent issuance of official legislation to formalize the decision. One source infomed the market players that the decision for extension would first be issued by end of July for Ninh Thuan projects due to the province’s economic downturn, and by the end of this year, a decision to extend nationwide will follow. On 4 July 2018, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), in coordination with the MOIT, submitted an official letter No. 4545 (Letter 4545) to the Prime Minister to formally propose the COD extension. That letter 4545 was addressing Ninh Thuan solar energy projects only but market players expected that proposal for nationwide extension would follow very soon.
However, in a rare and unpredictable move, on 26 July 2018, the Government’s Office issued an Official Letter No. 7108 (Letter 7108) to reject the proposal for COD extension for Ninh Thuan solar energy projects, without mentioning any rationale behind it or any reference to the Deputy Prime Minister’s in-principle agreement with the MOIT. That means, as a result of Letter 7108, everything under Decision 11 would stay the same, at least for Ninh Thuan solar energy projects.
What remains unclear is whether the MOIT/MPI would continue pushing for a nationwide COD extension, amidst the Letter 7108. One source continues insisting that such a nationwide COD extension (which was planned to go through by end of 2018) is still reviewed by the Prime Minister. From the IPP’s perspectives, it is understandably viewed as a 50/50 decision. A high-yielder would continue go for bigger projects with hope that nationwide COD extension will take place, while others may choose to go with smaller one to ensure the construction time to be secured.
We will keep our clients updated on the development of this saga. Time is of essence now yet everything is still up in the air. For prudent reasons, we would have to advise IPPs to go with smaller projects now for the purpose of plausible construction time. We can help introducing such projects.
Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com or any lawyers in our office listing if you have any questions or want to know more details on the above. Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.