May 31 2017 – GE announced a series of agreements that will increase Vietnam’s domestic energy production by 2.3 gigawatts. The agreements were announced at a meeting in Washington, D.C., between Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. They also include a $3 billion agreement for aircraft engines and maintenance from CFM International, a joint venture between GE and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines. The agreements could go a long way toward helping match Vietnam’s projected electricity consumption, which is expected to more than double by 2030, reaching 506 terawatt-hours.
Much of that new power generation will come from solar and wind plants. In 2010, Vietnam received 3.5 percent of its electricity from renewables. It has set a goal of 5 percent in 2020 and 11 percent by 2050. This includes steady increases in wind, solar, hydroelectric and biogas production.
Vietnam already gets a third of its electricity from hydroelectric generation and has been developing wind farms since 2015. As part of this new $2 billion deal, GE is ready to supply an 800MW wind power project in Soc Trang province. The plants will start to come online in 2020, and GE’s Pham Son estimates they will be operational by 2035.
As part of its work with Vietnam, GE also has signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam Oil and Gas Group to explore developing two 750 MW combined-cycle gas turbine plants, which will use natural gas from its Ca Voi Xanh offshore natural gas field. Those plants are expected to be operational by 2024.
GE has a long history with Vietnam. It set up its first Vietnamese outpost 24 years ago, making it the first corporation to establish ties with the country after the U.S. lifted a decades-long trade embargo.
GE already powers the equivalent of 2.3 million homes in the country, accounting for roughly 30 percent of all power generation in Vietnam, and has a strong presence in the country’s healthcare system. More than half of Vietnam’s hospitals and clinics use GE equipment.
The new deal will also help power jobs in the U.S., with many components and pieces used in GE’s heavy-duty gas turbines supported by employees in South Carolina, New York and Maine, among other states. In an additional deal with Vietnam’s VietJet, CFM International will provide maintenance and support for the airline’s 215 LEAP-1B engines. Several of those engines were built in GE’s aviation facility in Indiana.
Ultimately, Pham Son says, these projects will help Vietnam’s rapid growth continue uninterrupted.