Wind turbines at the Tuy Phong Wind Power Plant in Binh Thuan province (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Reducing the use of scarce natural resources through measurement of energy efficiency is critically needed to meet the energy demand of a growing economy like Vietnam, Vu Van Khiem, Director General of the Ministry of Science and Technology's National Office of the Southern Region, has said.

Speaking at a recent three-day training conference on sustainable energy technology in Ho Chi Minh City, Khiem said that Vietnam was facing an energy shortage within the next few decades.

Economic growth and rapid industrial expansion based on low energy costs have consumed significant amounts of energy and other resources, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and exhausting natural resources.

In the future, Vietnam will shift from an exporter to an importer of energy and the level of dependence on imported energy would increase, he added.

State agencies in Vietnam such as the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Industry and Trade and other agencies have worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on labeling energy and building energy efficiency standards for appliances and replacing the use of fossil fuels.

As a result, there have been positive results in management and energy savings, he said.

In recent decades, with the present rate of consumption of traditional energy resources, energy reserves are expected to be depleted rapidly, Khiem said.

According to forecasts, by 2035 the level of global energy consumption will increase by 53 percent. Enterprises around the world are constantly conducting research to seek new and renewable energy sources, he said.

The traditional burning of fossil fuels has caused adverse environmental impact such as the greenhouse effect, rising radioactivity and global warming, he added.

Also speaking at the conference, Cho Chang-hee, principal researcher of the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute, said that in Korea, island microgrids were being used to meet demand.

Microgrids that have helped meet increased demand for green energy globally are especially suitable for remote villages, he said. They have helped improve electricity penetration ratio and reduced petroleum use.

"Fewer CO2 emissions are the result," he said. "It also decreases transmission losses."

A microgrid is a system of multiple power sources of different sizes and technologies connected to the central grid. The system can disconnect and function autonomously as physical and economic conditions dictate.

More than 1,400 microgrid projects have been deployed in more than 100 countries, Cho said.

The conference was organised by the National Research Council of Science & Technology, ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center, Korea Institute of Energy Research, Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute, and Korea Institute of Industrial Technology.

The national strategy on developing renewable energy sources until 2030 and a vision to 2050 has just been approved by the Prime Minister.

The document notes that priority will be given to using biomass energy in producing electricity, and to using biogas and compact biomass to make fuel and liquid bio-fuel.

It also sets the goal of using 50 percent of industrial and agricultural waste for energy production purpose by 2020 from roughly 45 percent in 2015, and the rate should be raised to 60 percent by 2030 and 70 percent in 2050.

The use of waste from animal breeding industry and other urban waste sources for energy production will be encouraged under the strategy with the target of processing all the waste by 2050.

Solar energy will be developed in a bid to supply electricity to the most remote and far-flung areas across the country, as will wind power.-VNA