Scientists have affirmed that Binh Thuan is an ideal place for wind power plants. The area with wind potentials is 456,000 hectares, which accounts for 58.3 percent of the total area of the province. The greatest wind potentials have been found in three large areas of Phan Thiet, Tuy Phong and Bac Binh.

The great wind potentials have lured many investors to Binh Thuan. The Vietnam Recycled Energy JSC has developed a large scale wind power plant in Tuy Phong district. The PetroVietnam Recycled Power Company has implemented a wind power plant in Phu Quy island district.

In April 2012, the Wind Power Plant 1, the first phase of the former project, was put into operation. In the first phase, capitalized at VND1.5 trillion, 20 turbines masts have been set up to generate 30 MW of power. A 110KV transformer station has also been built which connect the power from the plant with the national grid under the power sale agreement between the investor and the Electricity of Vietnam.

On Phu Quy Island, the project on a 3-turbine wind power plant capable to generate 6 MW of power, capitalized at VND335 billion has been going smoothly. In August 2012, the first and the third turbine towers began providing merchandise power to the national grid. The second one has just been put into operation.

However, a lot of obstacles have arisen, hindering the plan on wind power plant development in the province. The Thuan Nhien Phong wind power plant in Hoa Thang commune of Bac Binh district is an example.

At first, the construction and installation of the project was planned to be completed in four months. However, when reporters came to the construction site, there was no worker. A representative of the investor said the project implementation has been halted because the investor still cannot arrange enough capital.

According to the Binh Thuan provincial Department of Industry and Trade, only two of the 16 projects approved by the local authorities have become operational. Meanwhile, other projects remain on the table of investors, who have still been moving heaven and earth to seek capital.

It’s really very difficult to seek long term capital for wind power plant projects which always require high investment rates.

In 2012, production enterprises had to borrow short term capital from commercial banks at the sky high interest rates of 20 percent on average. In the context of the economic downturn, domestic banks are incapable enough to provide the huge sums of trillions of dong in capital to wind power projects.

Meanwhile, the big difficulties the investors of the two operational power plants have been facing may make new investors shrink back and reconsider their intention to pour money into the wind power industry.

Vietnamese wind power investors have not enjoyed any preferences so far, while they should be given investment incentives, if the government is determines to develop clean energy.

According to Pham Cuong, Director of PetroVietnam Recycled Power Company, in other countries, investors can borrow huge sums of money (hundreds of millions of dollars) at very low interest rates (in Denmark, for example, is 1.5 percent per annum). Meanwhile, this proves to be unfeasible in Vietnam.

By Thien Nhien - VietNamNet Bridge - January 10, 2013