Tag Archives: feed in tariff

VIETNAM – RENEWABLE ENERGY – NEW FEED IN TARIFFS FOR WIND ENERGY – AMAZING DEVELOPMENT – SOLAR POWER – SPECIAL POLICY FOR NINH THUAN AND ONGOING DRAFT POLICY

RECENT DEVELOPMENT
Until June 2018, approx. 286 solar power projects of total capacity of 19,300 MW have been submitted to the licensing authorities to be supplement to the Power Master Plans, but only 100 projects have been approved (approx. 4,700 MW). We also note that 90% projects are still in other licensing processes such as application for investment registration license, construction permit, etc.
At least 10 solar power projects that investors have signed PPAs with EVN recently. By end of September 2018, the first solar energy project will connect to the national power grid (35 MW in Hue province).
With regards to the remaining projects have not yet been included in the Power Master Plans, the Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung has decided and instructed that MOIT must consider and approve to addition if such solar energy projects satisfy one of the following conditions:
• MOIT has completed the investigation process of the application to supplement to Power Master Plan of such project; or
• Projects have submitted the application to supplement to Power Master Plan to MOIT and such projects are located in provinces that have potential to develop solar energy projects.

SPECIAL POLICY ONLY FOR NINH THUAN – NOT FOR OTHER PROVINCES
On 31 August 2018, the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued Resolution 115/NQ-CP (“Resolution 115”) to finally decide that the commercial operation date (COD) deadline (previously 30 June 2019) for solar projects in Ninh Thuan province to enjoy the 9.35 US cents feed in tariff has been extended to the end of 2020. This extension applies to those solar energy projects approved in the relevant Power Master Plan. Resolution 115 took effect on 31 August 2018 and lays to rest the badly kept secret that Ninh Thuan, a literal hot spot for solar projects, will enjoy more favorable terms than projects in other locations which remain bound to the 30 June 2019 COD deadline (as noted below).

NEW REGULATIONS FOR SOLAR ENERGY PROJECTS AFTER 30 JUNE 2019?
The Government will issue new FIT and new PPA for projects coming into operation after 30 June 2019. Such new FIT will be much more lower than the current one (verbally confirmed by Mr. Nguyen Ninh Hai, Deputy Director of New and Renewable Energy Department, MOIT).
The Government is now also working on a Competition Auction System for solar power projects that may be completed at around the 2020. The new FIT will be applied only until the Competition Auction System is decided and implemented.

ON GOING DRAFT POLICY ON NEW FIT FOR WIND ENERGY PROJECTS
MOIT has proposed the below a new and very promising FIT for wind energy projects to PM for his consideration and approval:
o FIT for Onshore project: 8.5 cents
o FIT for Offshore project: 9.8 cents
FYI, in current draft available to us, onshore and offshore projects are defined as below:
“Onshore wind power project means on-grid wind power project that having its wind turbines to be built and operated on inland areas and coastal zones (NB: boundary of such inland areas and coastal zones is the average low water line for 18.6 years)
Offshore wind-power project means on-grid wind power project that having its wind turbines to be built and operated outside inland areas and coastal zones to the sea.”

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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.

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.

Vietnam – Solar Power Breaking News – Possible Extension of deadline for Feed in Tariff (9.35 USD cent per KW) – what you must know:

The current solar Feed-in-Tariff for on-grid projects in Vietnam is 2,086 Vietnamese dong/kWh (equivalent to 9.35 UScents/kWh) (VAT excluded). According to Decision 11/2017/QD-TTg, this solar FIT applies for projects which come into operation before 30 June 2019 and within 20 years from the commercially operational date (“COD”) (i.e., the date when the solar plant is ready to sell electricity to the buyer – EVN).

However, from our informal high level contact within the MOIT recently, it is very likely that the solar FIT of US9.35 cents/kWh will continue to apply beyond the original COD (i.e. 30 June 2019). The deadline shall be likely extended for another half a year or another year for solar projects across Vietnam, except for projects in Ninh Thuan. This policy is not yet formally adopted but very likely will be publicized at the end of this year.

For solar projects in Ninh Thuan, the COD deadline extension will be longer (i.e. for another one and a half year from 30 June 2019). This is due to the fact that, in Ninh Thuan province, nuclear energy development has been stopped and the Government would like to develop solar energy there to support the province’s economic development.The special policy for solar projects in Ninh Thuan will be coming very soon, according to our MOIT contact. He informed us that the Deputy Prime Minister has already approved this special policy for Ninh Thuan and all await formal procedures.

We will closely monitor to update on any further changes.

Please contact Dr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have questions on the topic or any other lawyer in our office listing. Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris LLC.

Vietnam plays a calculated game of risk with new solar PPA

Vietnam appears to be betting on gung ho enthusiasm to kick start solar power development rather than taking bold steps to deliver a stable backbone to the industry.  It’s a gamble that may pay off in the short term but might also saddle the country with poorly-conceived and under-performing projects in the long term.

 

To much fanfare, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) released Circular 16 in including final template power purchase agreements (PPA) for the solar energy sector. The circular and PPA templates follow a draft issued back in April this year, and are stated to be mandatory templates for utility-scale and rooftop solar projects.

 

The original draft PPA for utility scale grid projects was met with criticism, and declared non-bankable by most experts and commentators (despite hewing closely to the previously-issued standard PPA for wind projects). Unfortunately, little has changed with the final version of the PPA.  Would-be investors raised serious concerns over the amount and type of risk the PPA sought to shift to investors, and the message delivered was that unless the government was willing to address some of the most glaring problems, few reputable foreign solar players and, just as importantly, few reputable financiers would be likely to sign up.

 

Having largely ignored recommendations provided, the final text does little to inspire confidence. The final PPA does not improve upon the main critical issues highlighted in April.  Issues include a lack of measures to compensate producers for interruption in the ability to receive power, force majeure conditions, contract suspension, and settlement of disputes.

 

Tariff trouble

 

With the FiT rate of US$0.0935/kWh for grid-connected solar power projects confirmed, Circular 16 goes on to outline that the FiT is available for 20 years to projects, or parts of projects, that reach commercial operation before 30 June 2019.

 

As with the draft from April, the final PPA does not include any indexation of the FiT to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to address inflation risks. In response to concerns over fluctuating exchange rates, the circular does state that “the FiT for the following year shall be adjusted according to the central exchange rates of the Vietnamese dong against the US dollar announced by the State Bank of Vietnam on the last working day of the preceding year.”  Annual adjustment is better than none but it wouldn’t have been difficult to spread adjustments throughout the year.

 

As a way to offset the relatively low tariff, and inflation risks, investors may be able to benefit from tax exemptions on raw materials and supplies imported for their projects, corporate income tax relief, and an exemption from land rental fees within the first three years of commencing commercial operation.

 

A risk too far?

 

Under Decision 11 (which also set the FiT) and the final version of the PPA appended to Circular 16, Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) is responsible for purchasing the entire power output from grid-connected projects at the stated FiT.

 

However, the PPA relieves EVN from payment obligations in cases where it is unable to take power due to a breakdown of the transmission or distribution grid. With many solar projects currently focused on few central locations, the capacity of existing facilities to absorb power must be a cause of some concern given the PPA’s transfer of such risk to power producers.

 

Worryingly, the PPA lacks any mechanism to compensate power producers should interruptions happen outside of their control. Not only does the PPA not provide for extension of time in case of force majeure, but if force majeure were to prevent a power producer from meeting its obligations for a year then EVN could unilaterally terminate the PPA with no compensation payable.  In such circumstances, the power producer is left alone in the dark.

 

Such arrangements might be acceptable to projects that manage to negotiate clear ‘take or pay’ terms and/or government guarantees, but it is highly questionable whether and to what extent either of these will be possible in the current climate.  As a direct consequence, it is equally questionable to what extent private finance will be prepared to bear the risk, a fact that will prompt capital to seek more favourable conditions in other markets.

 

Playing by house rules

 

If the above portends of problems in the relationship with EVN, investors may be further discouraged by the lack of specifics in terms of dispute resolution. The PPA is governed by Vietnamese law and does not itself expressly include the right to agree on international arbitration to resolve disputes, a condition that would typically be considered an important requirement.

 

As it stands, disputes can be submitted to the Electricity Renewable Energy Department (formerly the General Directorate of Energy) for mediation. If that doesn’t work, there is the option of escalating the issue to the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV) or pursuing litigation in Vietnam’s courts.

 

The PPA does allow for “another dispute resolution body to be agreed by the parties”, which potentially opens the door for sellers to negotiate with EVN on dispute resolution, including offshore or even domestic arbitration.  But it is not clear if EVN will agree to directly amend PPAs to allow for express prior agreement on offshore arbitration or simply open the door for such a discussion at the time of a dispute.  Clearly in the latter case the deck is firmly stacked in EVN’s favour.

 

One step forward… wait and see

 

The MoIT is well aware of the deficiencies in the PPA and knows that, in its current form, it will not attract the kind of investment Vietnam needs if it is to meet both its energy demands and renewable targets. They know that investors were hoping for some of the shortfalls to have been addressed, and as such the agreement remains – for all intents and purposes – largely unbankable.

 

On the other hand however, the MoIT is also acutely aware of the significant interest in Vietnam’s solar sector. The vast potential of solar power is there for the taking, with abundant land available for the development of solar farms for first movers. With this in mind, the PPA can be considered an attempt to test the waters – asking how much risk investors are willing to bear in return for a piece of the action.

 

The MoIT is confident that smaller, nimble players will be attracted to Vietnam and make investments, regardless of the bankability of the PPA on paper. The question truly posed by Circular 16 is: exactly how much risk are investors willing to accept?  What better way to test it than in open market conditions?  If risk allocation adjustment need to be made in future, the Prime Minister, MoIT and EVN can make them relatively easily.

 

Ultimately, although the PPA is “final” on paper, the real trick is for investors to work hard and smart to agree adjustments on a project-to-project basis that re-align specific risks in acceptable ways.  Each project is a sum of many different elements and successful investors in the early days at least will be the ones that focus their energies on key issues for their projects where they can make meaningful progress.  Opportunity vs. risk: Vietnam is playing a calculated game at the dawn of the solar energy sector.  Where the chips fall remains to be seen.

 

For more information about Vietnam’s energy sector, please contact Giles at GTCooper@duanemorris.com or any of the lawyers in our office listing. Giles is co-General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC and branch director of Duane Morris’ HCMC office.

Vietnam’s proposed wind power price hike – is it enough?

One of the main criticisms levelled at Vietnam’s wind power sector is the relatively low feed-in tariff (FiT) introduced by the government in 2011. With the country’s rapid growth, energy demand is expected to soar over the coming years. Coupled with international pressure to keep to its greenhouse gas commitments, Vietnam is in desperate need of large-scale and long-term investment in its renewable energy sector.

 

The buying price of VND1,614/kWh (US$0.078) was set for all land-based projects in the country, with 6.8 cents paid by State-run power monopoly Vietnam Electricity (EVN), and the rest coming from the country’s Environment Protection Fund.

 

However, the rate, intended to encourage the development of wind power projects, was considered insufficient for investors to recover their investment capital. The tariff is also much lower than in neighbouring Indonesia (US$0.11), Malaysia (US$0.1476) and Thailand (US$0.19).

 

Change of direction

 

Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has recently proposed an adjustment to the rate, asking the government to raise the buying price for wind power in an effort to help investors cover high input costs. It is hoped that such a move would push foreign firms to develop new wind power projects or expand their existing farms. Accelerated development in this sector is vital if Vietnam is to meet the energy targets it has set for itself, as well as wean the country off dirty and expensive imports of coal.

 

The ministry has suggested the price be lifted to US$0.087 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for wind energy projects on land and US$0.0995 cents per kWh for offshore farms. Such a rate would still lag behind regional competitors and the global average of US$0.196 per kWh as reported by the World Energy Commission, but may present a more feasible option to investors.

 

On top of the off-putting FiT, the number of wind power projects in Vietnam remains low as only wind turbine towers, accounting for 20 percent of production costs, can be produced locally, while investors have to import the remaining components.

 

Not winding down yet

 

There’s little doubt about the country’s potential for wind exploitation ­– according to a World Bank report, 8.6 percent of Vietnam’s land mass is suitable for the construction of wind farms, which would produce sufficient electricity to meet a lot of current and future power needs.

 

Some of the country’s currently operating wind farms, specifically in the province of Binh Thuan, work with the previously promulgated FiT of US$0.078 per kWh, and the Bac Lieu wind farm enjoys US$0.098 per kWh due to its offshore location.

 

The MoIT has highlighted these projects as part of the reasoning behind the rate hike. Concerns have been raised by the investors behind the projects over the time it would take to recover their investment capital. In fact, the investors in question had previously requested authorities raise the regulated FiT to $0.095 per kWh, but were unsuccessful.

 

According to the investor of the Phu Lac wind farm, the first phase of the project, which came into operation in November 2016, has total investment capital of VND1.1 trillion (US$48.4 million). With the existing FiT, it would take around 14 years to recover the investment of just the first phase. Considering the average lifespan of a wind farm is just 20 to 25 years, it’s no wonder that developers are hesitant about breaking ground on new projects.

 

As of now, there are 48 registered wind power projects with total capacity of 5,000MW in Vietnam, 23 of which have had their pre-feasibility reports approved by the MoIT and are patiently waiting for an increase in the FiT. It remains to be seen whether the suggested increase is enough for the projects to move ahead.

 

Incremental improvement

 

The proposal by the MoIT demonstrates an acceptance that despite a range of tax benefits offered to foreign investors including exemptions from customs duties, a preferential corporate tax rate of 10% and income tax and land use fee exemptions, the government’s initial energy strategy proved unappealing to investors. To offset any complaints, the trade ministry has calculated that the price adjustment they are proposing would raise EVN’s production costs by a slight VND0.08 per kWh this year and VND0.23 per kWh in 2019.

 

Even a light increase in the FiT, as put forward by the MoIT, could stoke some growth in the sector. The attraction of foreign investors capable of producing complicated parts could mean that the localisation ratio is bumped to more than 40 percent. For example, China has reached a localisation ratio of almost 100 percent for their wind power projects, but the selling price of the energy stands at around US$0.08 per kWh.

 

In summary, the proposed hike seems insufficient to really improve Vietnam’s position as a renewable energy leader in Southeast Asia. The sector remains riddled with problems of transparency and the perpetual presence of giants like EVN is an obstacle for smaller private players looking to enter the market. A meagre FiT does little to neutralise the risks faced by investors and power producers, especially with more promising offers in the region. The silver lining, however, is that authorities are open to change. The MoIT is echoing the concerns of the renewable energy sector, from both established and potential projects, and looking at ways to develop a more favourable climate going forward. Even if they’re not yet blown away by the increase, investors would do well to watch this space.

 

For more information about Vietnam’s energy sector, please contact Giles at GTCooper@duanemorris.com or any of the lawyers in our office listing. Giles is co-General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC and branch director of Duane Morris’ HCMC office.

Solar deals despite doubts: bankable or not, investors dive in

Foreign interest in Vietnam’s solar sector had surged after the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) announced a solar feed-in tariff (FiT) and a draft solar PPA earlier this year.  Concerns over the bankability of the proposed agreement have done little to dampen enthusiasm, with a number of players eager to get a slice of a Southeast Asian success story.

Continue reading Solar deals despite doubts: bankable or not, investors dive in

The sun rises on Vietnam’s energy sector

Over the past three decades Vietnam has witnessed startling economic success thanks to the country’s openness to international trade and investment. The energy sector in particular has grown rapidly, with abundant hydrocarbons and hydropower resources allowing the country to keep pace with the energy demands of a rising population.

 

However, there may be clouds on the horizon. The most easily-accessible resources are running out and imports of coal and gas will be increasingly needed to keep industry chugging along. To maintain its high rate of growth Vietnam will be looking for huge investment over the coming years. In order to do this, and keep to its international greenhouse gas commitments, the government has set its sights on some ambitious targets for solar power generation.

 

Recent decisions issued by the government represent baby steps in this direction. Evidently, there is some enthusiasm for a solar-powered future, but is it enough?

Continue reading The sun rises on Vietnam’s energy sector

Ground-breaking Feed-In Tariff for Waste-To-Energy Projects in Vietnam

By Manfred Otto and Giles Cooper, Duane Morris Vietnam LLC

>Japanese

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Decision 31/2014/QÐ-TTg on solid waste-to-energy projects becomes effective as of today (20 June 2014). Article 14 of the Decision provides a ground-breaking feed-in tariff for power suppliers of up to “VND 2,114/kWh (equivalent to 10.05 US cents/kWh)”. This is more than 25 percent higher than the 7.8 cent applicable to wind power projects in Article 14 of Decision 37/2011/QÐ-TTg from 2011. 10 cent per kWh was long considered the minimum threshold for investments into renewable energy projects.

Continue reading Ground-breaking Feed-In Tariff for Waste-To-Energy Projects in Vietnam

ベトナムのごみ焼却発電に革新的な固定価格買取制度(フィードインタリフ)を

>English

ドウェイン・モリス・ベトナム法律事務所
オットー マンフレッド 倉雄(著)
ジャイルズ クーパー、小林 裕(編)

ベトナムの固形廃棄物発電プロジェクトに関する首相決定Decision 31/2014/QÐ-TTgは、本日(2014年6月20日)より実施されます。当決定の14条は、電力供給者からの買い取り価格を「1キロワット当たり2,114ベトナムドン(10.05米セント/kWh)に当たる)」と定めています。この買取価格は、過去の風力発電決定Decision 37/2011/QÐ-TTgの7.8米セントを25%以上上回っています。10米セント/kWhが従前の再生可能エネルギープロジェクトに対する投資に関して最小値とされていました。

Continue reading ベトナムのごみ焼却発電に革新的な固定価格買取制度(フィードインタリフ)を