TTC to invest $1 billion on 1 GW in Vietnam — reports

The Ho Chi Minh City-based industrial group is willing to provide up to 30% of the necessary investment, according to Bloomberg and local media outlets. It said recently introduced policies to support PV development have finally brought development costs to a level that can compete with the construction of coal-fired power plants.

Group subsidiary Gia Lai Electricity will work on roughly 800 MW of capacity, it said, while its TTC Sugar unit will oversee the construction of an additional 200 MW. Gia Lai Electricity, which also invests in wind projects, aims to list shares on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange by the end of the decade.

TTC, which was established in 1979, currently owns 84.4 MW of operational hydropower capacity at 15 locations in Vietnam. The diversified conglomerate — which has investments in energy, property, tourism and sugar production — announced tentative plans in May to invest in the development of 30 MW in Binh Thuan province by 2020 and up to 300 MW by 2030. Most of those projects will be built on non-arable land, but it has yet to identify specific sites for development, it said. 

In addition, the group sold a combined 36% stake in Gia Lai Electricity earlier this year to International Finance Corp. and Armstrong Asset Management. The sale is part of a broader strategic cooperation agreement to jointly develop renewable-energy projects in Vietnam.

Investment in the country’s nascent solar sector started to pick up earlier this year, after the government announced a 20-year feed-in tariff rate of VND 2,086 ($0.09)/kWh, in addition to a net metering scheme for residential PV installations. The initial policy draft has come under fire in some quarters, with critics pointing to a number of issues that need to be clarified for investment in utility-scale PV projects to take off, including foreign-exchange risks and the right of utility Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to refuse to accept electricity under certain circumstances, without compensating project owners.

However, numerous foreign and domestic companies have already announced plans to invest in solar projects. In April, India’s Tata Solar announced plans to develop 100 MW of solar capacity in Binh Phuoc province. And in May, a subsidiary of EVN unveiled plans to build 350 MW of solar at two sites in southeastern Vietnam’s Ninh Thuận province. Construction will begin in the second quarter of 2018, with grid connection scheduled by the first quarter of 2021.