Vietnam’s national energy development plan does not include geothermal sources, but a senior official said that it was time to study their potential in the country (Photo: MONRE)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam’s national energy development plan does not include geothermal sources, but a senior official has said that it was time to study their potential in the country.

Geothermal energy is heat energy generated and stored in the earth. It is said to be a clean, sustainable source.

Nguyen Linh Ngoc, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), was speaking at a conference on geothermal energy in the Asia-Pacific region held in the capital city on November 13.

Ngoc said that small-sized hydropower plants provide 70 percent of the total country’s total energy output, leaving biogas/biomass a distant second at 14 percent, while renewable energy, including solar and wind energy, both account for about 6 percent.

Meanwhile, geothermal energy has remained a complete no-show. Feasibility studies were only recently conducted in the central provinces of Quang Binh and Quang Tri.

Ngoc said that energy production accounted for the release of 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but in Vietnam, the figure was more than 50 percent because of pollution from fossil fuels-based energy plants.

In 2015, at COP21, the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, Vietnam pledged to unconditionally cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent by 2030 compared to business-as-usual (BAU) projections, or by up to 25 percent if international support was forthcoming.

At the conference, experts and scientists from many countries discussed direct use of geothermal power and ground-source heat pumps (GSHP), the benefits of geothermal energy and geothermal power production - and technologies for the treatment of geothermal reservoirs to enhance electricity generation.

The many socio-economic benefits of geothermal energy were also highlighted, including energy security, improved ecology and low emissions.

The conference was organised by the Vietnam Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources and the Geothermal Implementing Agreement (IEA Geothermal).

IEA Geothermal, operating under the International Energy Agency, aims to boost international co-operation on geothermal energy production and use.-VNA