Two 1.6MW GE turbines were recently installed in Vietnam’s Mekong river delta, kicking off the initial phase of the country’s first offshore wind farm. Installed in inter-tidal mud flats, the turbines are the first of ten to be supplied by GE as part of the near-shore Bac Lieu project.
A further eight GE turbines will be installed over the next 3-6 months, with grid connection expected by early 2013. A substation is also being built. The project has a final planned capacity of 99.2MW.
Cong Ly Construction and Trading Co Ltd is leading the installation, funded by the US Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, at a total cost of $250 million.
Vietnam has good wind resources, however, competition for land in the Mekong delta is fierce. Development of onshore wind projects has been hampered by the need to protect high-quality agricultural land for rice farming. In addition, some land has been earmarked for titanium mining.
Speaking with Windpower Offshore, Peter Cowling, GE Energy Asia Pacific’s general manager for renewable sales, explained that Vietnam has the potential to develop a sizeable wind energy sector, not least because a feed-in tariff (FIT) has been introduced.