Tag Archives: moit

VIETNAM – ROOFTOP SOLAR POWER PROJECTS – NEW POLICY TO ADDRESS NET-METERING ISSUE

On 8 January 2019, the Prime Minister has issued Decision No. 02/2019/QD-TTg (“Decision 02”) to amend certain articles of Decision 11/2017/QD-TTg dated 11 April 2017 of the Prime Minister on mechanism for encouragement of development of solar power in Vietnam (“Decision 11”). Decision 02, became effective on 8 January 2019, promulgates new payment scheme to address the net-metering issue of the rooftop solar power projects under Decision 11. We elaborate the above topic further as below:

In 2017, Decision 11 introduced the net-metering scheme for rooftop solar power projects. In brief, rooftop projects must be implemented in net-metering with two-way electricity meters. In a trading cycle, if the amount of electricity generated from rooftop projects is greater than the consumed amount, the surplus will be carry forward to the next trading cycle. At the end of the year or when the contract is terminated, the surplus amount of energy will be sold to EVN at the rate mentioned in the power purchase agreement signed by the seller and EVN either at the end of the relevant year or upon termination of the agreement. Circular 16/2017/TT-BCT (“Circular 16”) dated 12 September 2017 of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (“MOIT”), requires a solar power generator, as the seller, to enter into a model power purchase agreement (in the form attached to Circular 16) with EVN or its authorized subsidiary. However, in practice, the model power purchase agreement has not been applied by EVN since the MOIT and the MOF had no guidance on the finalization, payment scheme and invoicing mechanism for such net-metering purposes. Other words, EVN claimed that it is very challenging for them to calculate and invoice the power based on net-metering scheme.

In order to address the net-metering issue, Decision 02 now has introduced a new payment scheme for rooftop solar power projects. In brief, the power generated by rooftop solar power project will be metered independently and paid by EVN to the seller. The power sold by EVN or its power company to consumers being rooftop solar power investors will be metered as usual like other households / consumers.

All rooftop solar power projects having their commercial operation date (operation and metering confirmation) prior to 1 July 2019 will enjoy FIT of US$9.35 / KWh under Decision 11. The price of rooftop solar power for following years must be adjusted according to the last year exchange rate between Vietnamese Dong and USD issued by the State Bank of Vietnam.
The MOIT shall promulgate technical regulations on solar power, regulations on measurement of energy of solar power projects and provide instructions on the connection, installation of electricity meters and the calculation of rooftop solar power project.

We will keep you informed with any new guidance from the MOIT for rooftop solar power projects.

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Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com 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.

Lawyer in Vietnam Dr. Oliver Massmann – RENEWABLE ENERGY AND FEED IN TARIFFS – QUO VADIS – INTERVIEW WITH MERGERMARKET

1. Dear Dr. Massmann, a government official recently stated that the MoIT probably had enough solar projects in the pipeline, explaining for that fact that such new FIT will be much more lower than the current one (as quoted by Mr. Nguyen Ninh Hai, Deputy Director of New and Renewable Energy Department, MOIT), do you agree with this statement and why? Is there any other reason that you think make sense for planning a new upcoming FiT for solar?

OM: The number of approved solar projects has gone far beyond the target capacity in the National Power Master Plan VII (as amended). The Government has to issue a new national power master plan (PDP VIII) to reflect the new target following the market status. In addition, the grid does not have enough capacity to absorb all output from solar projects at the moment and has to be upgraded. This process should take around 1-5 years. The current FiT is also very attractive to foreign investors and high compared to some other countries. For these reasons, the Government has to issue a new FIT to slow down the development of solar projects, thus having time to improve the grid and complete the legal framework.

2. With the market now anticipating the new FiT for solar, which is underway, what is the current situation of those solar projects seeking to be the last one to enjoy the 9.35 US cents feed in tariff? Do you think the anticipation for the new FiT has triggered/ or will trigger a rise in deal value for renewables in Vietnam in the meantime? Perhaps in Ninh Thuan province? If so, by roughly how much %?

OM: Solar projects seeking to be the last one to enjoy the current FIT now have to accelerate their development process so that they will come into commercial operation by 30 June 2019. If they cannot (and this is the current situation of many solar projects), the investors tend to delay the construction and wait to see what will happen after 30 June. I am aware that the new FIT is only one of the options, besides auction or a hybrid option. The Government has not yet decided on the final model. Ninh Thuan is already overloaded and investors should look for opportunities in other provinces.

3. Besides the new FiT, what changes would you like to see in the new PPA for projects coming into operation after 30 June 2019? Can you rank these changes from most needed, needed to have, and good to have for the long-term outlook of M&A deals in renewables? Can you briefly explain the reasons for the ranking as well?

OM: The bankability of the PPA is of utmost importance. Without this, the investors find it very hard obtaining financing for their projects. Another change I expect is a clear indication of whether the PPA is a take-or-pay agreement. This will help investors secure and ensure the profits and revenue of their projects. The last change but also of not less importance is a dispute resolution clause which provides international arbitration to be an option to resolve the dispute. This could be a great concern for foreign investors, especially those of large utility scale projects.

4. From talking to a market source, the current FiT rate for wind energy projects is profitable enough for investors and he himself as an investor doesn’t want the FiT rate for wind energy projects to go up any more. What would be your argument for the hike in wind FiT and how would it benefit the long-term outlook of M&A deals in wind energy projects?

OM: I believe the reason for a recent increase in the wind FiT is to improve profitability of the projects, help investors to recover the investment capital more quickly and arrange a better financing deal with the banks. I note that the PPA is only for 20 years, so if it takes too long to recover the capital, together with the high maintenance cost after that, the investors will no longer be interested in keeping the projects. The new wind FIT will make wind projects more attractive to investors for acquisitions as there is still room for further development after the projects have recovered their investment capital.

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 Wind Power is taking off – The new Feed in Tariff – what you must know:

Decision No. 37 of the Prime Minister on supporting regime for wind power projects provides an FIT of 7.8 UScent/ kWh. This FIT applies to two current projects in operation in Binh Thuan, namely Phu Lac and Binh Thuan No. 1. For Bac Lieu near shore wind project, the FIT follows a special financial regime, being 9.8 UScent/kWh. However, with the current FIT, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) opines that it will be difficult for these plants to recover their investment capital.

Thus, the MOIT has recently proposed the Government to increase wind FIT for inland wind power plants to 8.77 UScent/ kWh and to 9.97 UScent/kWh for near shore wind projects. This proposal is expected to attract more investors in the market as well as create incentive for current projects whose pre-feasibility reports have been approved by the MOIT to come into real operation.

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If you have any question on the above, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com. Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Thank you very much!

 

 

Vietnam – Solar Power – Breaking News Update First draft of the solar Power Purchase Agreement released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade

Following the issuance of Decision No. 11/2017/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister on mechanism for encouragement of development of solar power in Vietnam (Decision 11), the Ministry of Industry and Trade released the first draft of a Circular guiding the Decision last month (Draft Circular). The Circular is aimed at providing regulations on formulation, approval and amendment of the national as well as provincial power master plan. In addition, the draft solar Power Purchase Agreement (Draft PPA), which is of great interest for many foreign investors, is also provided in the Circular as a mandatory template for future solar power projects with only minor changes expected to be permitted during the contract negotiations.

In essence, the Draft PPA is almost the same as current applicable PPAs for renewable projects. This creates bankable issues for solar projects and a hindrance to foreign investors planning an investment in the sector.

Feed-in-Tariff (FiT)

The draft Circular repeats the solar FiT for power output from on-grid projects and excessive power output generated from rooftop projects specified in Decision 11 to be VND2,086/kWh or US 9.35 cents/kWh. However, unlike Decision 11, the Draft PPA does not require that the conversion between USD and VND be according to the exchange rate at the time of payment.

EVN’s rights and obligations as the sole off-taker

EVN is delegated to purchase all power output generated from solar power projects pursuant to terms and conditions of the draft PPA within 20 years.

It is noteworthy that the Draft Circular and the Draft PPA list out certain circumstances where EVN is not obliged to purchase power as negotiated with the seller, for example:

  1. when EVN is in the process of installing equipment, or making repairs, replacement, inspection or examination of the grid connection of the seller’s power plant;
  2. when the transmission grid or the distribution grid connected to EVN’s grid has a problem or grid equipment directly connected to EVN’s transmission grid or the distribution grid has a problem; and
  3. when EVN’s grid needs support to recover after the incident in accordance with the provisions of operation of the national power system and the standards, technical regulations of the electric industry.

Unfortunately, the current Draft PPA does not include provisions protecting the interests of the seller in the abovementioned circumstances. It is quite risky for the producer if the output is ready to be fed to the grid but the connection is not available to do so. Absent a clear indication of whether the Draft PPA is a ‘take or pay” agreement, investors will find it difficult to secure and ensure the profits and revenue of their projects.

Dispute resolution

The Draft PPA allows either party to the agreement to bring the dispute to local courts for litigation and other energy-related state bodies of Vietnam (General Directorate of Energy and the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam) for mediation and resolution.

The Draft PPA does not provide for international arbitration to be an option to resolve the dispute. This could be a great concern for foreign investors, especially those of large utility scale projects.

Other key issues of concern

  • No Government guarantee to enhance the credit of EVN as the sole off-taker;
  • No provision addressing the risks of changes in applicable laws; and
  • The Draft PPA is required to follow a specific template, which is not bankable.

While the current Draft PPA leaves certain key issues unresolved, we note that this is only the first draft. Thus, it will be subject to potential revisions before its official adoption. We believe that with lessons learnt from the PPA for other renewable projects, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will complete the Draft PPA towards a mutually beneficial agreement for both the seller and the purchaser.

How to avoid EVN – The 30 MW rule

Considering the monopoly role of EVN as well as tough negotiation of the PPA, investors could still get out of this trouble. According to Article 1.2 of Circular No. 56/2014/TT-BCT promulgating methods to determine electricity generation price and examination steps of the PPA, the important requirement to negotiate with EVN is whether it is an on-grid or off-grid project. If it is an on-grid project with capacity of more than 30 MW or under 30 MW but voluntarily participating in the power market, the investor must negotiate with EVN. This means if the project is off-grid, there will be no requirement to negotiate with EVN. Therefore, if you are new to the market, an off-grid 30MW project or less is a smart option to test the water. Once you have built up your track record, you can go for larger scale projects.

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Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions or want to know more details on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

 

 

Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Solar Power Latest Updates on Draft Laws:

We have contacted the Department of Renewable Energy under the MOIT who is in charge of drafting this Decision. The Decision is still in a draft version (although it has been submitted to the Prime Minister for signature), thus can’t be published yet.

The final Decision will be issued this year but the exact timing is still uncertain.

Through our consultation with an official of the Department about the content of the Decision, for on-grid solar projects, the FIT rate will be 11.2 UScents/ kWh.

For on-grid rooftop solar projects, the rate will be 18 UScents/ kWh.

The rate in VND will be indicated in the final Decision based on the USD/VND exchange rate at that time and the MOIT will issue an Official Letter every year to adjust the rate in VND according to the fluctuation in the exchange rate.

Rooftop solar projects of less than 50kW will not have to connect to the grid. For those of more than 50kW, connection to the grid is required and an electricity operating permit must be obtained.

Please do not hesitate to contacts Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam.

Thank you !