Fifteen U.S. companies, including semiconductor firms, have expressed keen interest in investing a substantial $8 billion in Vietnam's clean energy infrastructure. However, this investment is contingent on Vietnam's progress in implementing renewable energy regulations, as revealed by a senior U.S. official during a press briefing in Hanoi.
Vietnam has been actively seeking to attract chipmakers and boost its renewable energy sector. Yet, it has faced challenges in adopting regulations necessary for the expansion of its solar and onshore wind industry, as well as the development of offshore wind farms, which it currently lacks.
U.S. undersecretary for economic growth and the environment, Jose Fernandez, highlighted the readiness of these American companies to invest up to $8 billion in Vietnam. He noted that the investment would primarily focus on clean energy infrastructure. However, he refrained from disclosing the names of these companies.
Fernandez emphasized that these companies had commitments to shareholders, making their investment conditional on regulatory advancements in Vietnam's renewable energy sector. He stated that these firms had pledged to utilize only renewable energy sources, underscoring the importance of regulatory progress for their investment decisions. Additionally, the companies are awaiting permits before proceeding with their investment plans.
Vietnam is currently exploring the possibility of implementing a regulatory framework that would enable factories to directly negotiate electricity prices with producers, rather than purchasing from the state-owned power network operator.
The country is also actively working to establish rules for offshore wind projects, including designating marine space usage. However, regulatory delays have posed significant challenges to the progress in this area.
Despite a recent surge in renewable energy projects in Vietnam, driven by widespread installations of solar panels and onshore wind turbines, challenges related to grid connectivity and the need for substantial grid upgrades have hindered the sector's development.
Fernandez's visit to Vietnam is part of the United States' efforts to implement the agreements reached in September when the two countries officially elevated their diplomatic ties to a "comprehensive strategic partnership," Vietnam's highest diplomatic ranking.
During his meetings with senior Vietnamese officials, including Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Fernandez primarily discussed topics such as chip manufacturing, critical minerals, and clean energy, underscoring the growing collaboration between the two nations.