Swedish Green Residence – Powering forward a more sustainable Vietnam
In commemoration of the international Solar Appreciation Day and in an effort to promote energy efficiency and sustainability, a solar panel system is formally inaugurated today at the Swedish Residence in Tay Ho, Hanoi.
Global access to modern and renewable energy and clean fuel is fundamental to meeting several of the challenges currently facing the world, including poverty, food security, climate change, clean water, health, and inclusive economic growth.
“Energy is central to social and economic well-being. Solar energy does not produce any environmental or noise pollution and is one of the cleanest sources of energy. Switching to solar allows you to reduce your use of fossil fuels and increase your energy security. We hope that the event will inspire others to also install solar panels,” said Ann Måwe, Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam at the event.
The photovoltaic rooftop power panel with energy storage at the Swedish Green Residence (10 Dang Thai Mai) is the first of its type in the area. With the total capacity of 18.5kW, it is a hybrid solar power system which generates power in the same way as a common grid-tied solar power system. In addition, it uses special hybrid inverters and batteries to save energy for later use. This ability to store energy enables the system to also operate as a backup power supply during blackout, similar to a UPS system.
“In just 58 days of operation, this hybrid solar power system has produced 1.74MWh. That is equivalent of five trees planted, 600,000 kilogrammes of coal saving, and about 1.73 tonnes of CO2 emissions in a relatively short period of time during winter. We expect that the system is able to produce more power in the summer where sunlight is abundant in the northern part of Vietnam,” said Viet Anh, technical officer of Orient, the service provider for solar installation and maintenance.
Sweden has ranked the first in terms of energy transformation for three consecutive years (2018-2020) by the World Economic Forum (WEF). This means Sweden is a forerunner for transition to a secure, sustainable, affordable, and inclusive future energy system.
Right up till the early 1970s, Sweden depended heavily on oil for energy supply. 75 per cent of energy generated came from oil. After the infamous 1973 oil crisis, Sweden has invested extensively in the search for alternative energy sources. Fast forward to today, Sweden is one of the most forward-thinking countries in the world. It recycles up to 99 per cent of household waste and has one of the lowest per-capita carbon emission among developed nations.
“Our Swedish experience has shown that the fossil-free development pathway is both possible and better. More than half of the energy used in Sweden already comes from renewable energy sources. Sweden has set out to meet 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2040. Lowering carbon emissions is key, and Sweden has managed to combine falling emission levels with a growing economy,” continued Ambassador Måwe while stressing that the future lies in low-carbon economies.
As for Vietnam, the country is at a crossroad. Its energy consumption is fast increasing. Critical decisions need to be made urgently concerning the country’s dependency on coal for power generation. Renewable energy is increasingly cost-competitive and has great potential to meet the enormous demand for energy of the country. Despite relatively new initiatives, in 2019 and early 2020, the country witnessed large investments in solar and wind energy with more than 4.5GW of solar power installed. The challenges lie in how Vietnam can push forward to increase its share of renewables and continue investments to upgrade its power grids to enable the sustainable inputs of renewables.
Vietnam has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in society. As such, Vietnam has the potential to overcome the economic consequences of the pandemic through “building forward” better and in a more sustainable way. Vietnam can be a leader in the region to demonstrate clean, inclusive, and resilient recovery, building on the principles of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG7 on Affordable and Clean Energy is a key goal) – and not only because it benefits people and climate, it is also good business.