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US supports Vietnam’s energy security projects with $2.5mn innovation fund

US supports Vietnam’s energy security projects with $2.5mn innovation fund

Thursday, February 24, 2022, 15:24 GMT+7
US supports Vietnam’s energy security projects with $2.5mn innovation fund
This image shows U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry gesturing at a ceremony held in Hanoi, Vietnam on Februrary 23, 2022 to launch the Innovation Challenge Fund (IFC) as U.S. support for Vietnam’s improvement of urban energy security. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry has announced the US$2.5 million Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) to assist Vietnam’s urban energy security improvement.

The envoy made the announcement at a fund launching ceremony in Hanoi on Wednesday, as part of his four-day visit to Vietnam, which started on Tuesday.

The ICF is part of the USAID-funded $13 million Vietnam Urban Energy Security project, which was chartered for four years to help the country improve legislation related to clean energy, mobilize relevant investment, and increase the adoption and deployment of innovative energy solutions.

This fund expects to finance 20 pilot projects for advanced urban energy systems in Da Nang in central Vietnam and/or Ho Chi Minh City in the south, with each successful applicant able to receive funding up to $100,000, VnExpress reported.

Economic growth in Vietnam has driven a significant increase in electricity demand and is forecast to continue at eight percent through 2030, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Vietnam will need $8-10 billion per year to invest in the energy sector over the next decade to meet the growing energy demand as an energy shortage has already been predicted.

As Vietnam owns hydroelectricity, wind energy and solar energy, the Southeast Asian country is likely to have a very balanced power supply, Kerry told the ceremony.

The special envoy said the U.S. will continue to help Vietnam develop renewable energy, reduce emissions, formulate policies to phase out coal power, and gradually shift to a clean energy model, especially through solar energy.

Kerry expressed high appreciation for Vietnam's commitments at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) last year and reaffirmed his nation's pledge to assist with these efforts.

Vietnam has made significant commitments to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050 and abandon coal power from 2040, John Kerry said, commenting that the Vietnamese government is currently working very hard toward the goals.

The U.S. is excited to work together with Vietnam to help facilitate and accelerate this transition, Kerry said.

In addition to Kerry, the ceremony was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper and USAID Vietnam Director Ann Marie Yastishock.

The event included a small exhibition showcasing the first urban energy solutions financed by this fund.

Kerry’s ongoing visit in Vietnam was aimed at meeting with "government officials, civil society representatives, and business leaders to build consensus on key actions to address the climate crisis and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy,” the U.S. Embassy said on its verified Facebook page on Thursday.

The special envoy had productive meetings with State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Standing Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, and Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien, among other officials, according to the embassy.

“They discussed how Vietnam can be a leader in tackling the climate crisis in Southeast Asia,” the diplomatic agency said.

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Vinh Tho - Lan Huong / Tuoi Tre News

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