Vietnam is a relatively small producer and consumer of energy. The country, however, has large energy reserves, consisting of extensive coal deposits, gas, peat and considerable and widespread hydropower and biomass resources. Biomass fuels such as fuelwood and agricultural residues are the major source of energy used by the vast majority of the rural and semi-urban population. In 1994, wood energy consumption was 423 PJ, accounting for 39% of total energy consumption. A large amount of fuelwood is used for the preparation of pig feed, which is almost always cooked.
Data on wood energy is still limited in Vietnam. There are indications that severe woodfuel scarcities exist, particularly in the hills, but also in delta areas. Shifting cultivation by seven million people from the ethnic minorities is blamed for deforestation. However, RWEDP has observed that annual deforestation is about equal to the annual increase in agricultural land.
The Government of Vietnam has designated the as the main implementing agency for RWEDP. The National Committee on Wood Energy Development associated with FSIV will establish the links with other sectors and organisations. The secretary/member of the National Committee on Wood Energy (NATCOM) who is with FSIV intends to (re-) establish NATCOM in line with RWEDP objectives. Prospective members of NATCOM are: FSIV (also representing the Ministry of Forestry), representatives of the Ministry/Institute of Energy, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, the State Planning Committee, etc. In due course the Ministries of Forestry and Agriculture (and Irrigation) will merge into one ministry, which will facilitate co-operation.
A pilot project for the dissemination of space-heating stoves has been implemented by the Forest Science and Technology Application Centre of the Forest Science Institute of Vietnam (FSIV) and it stipulated that technical advice would be obtained from Institute of Energy (IE). IE, being the main policy organisation for the Ministry of Energy, focuses on planning and policy development in the energy sector. Most of the attention is being directed to the modern energy sector, including electricity. Efforts are being made to encourage the substitution of biomass by coal in the household sector, which is successful in Hanoi. However, the transition has major adverse health impact, because coal has a high sulphur contents. IE enjoys many relevant international contacts and co-operation, and is active in a variety of renewable energy technologies. Two years ago IE proposed that the Government address biomass energy in its policies. By the end of 1995, the institute published a document, "Vietnam Energy Review", which is the result of a study on energy supply and use, including rural energy. However, the section on rural energy was rudimentary since data was available only for northern parts of the country. The intention of the Government of Vietnam is to proceed with rural energy planning, including wood and biomass energy, with assistance from the Asia Development Bank. Full results on rural energy are expected after a 3-year period, leading to a Vietnam Rural Energy Review.
The Research Centre for Architectural Indoor Climatology and Environment of the Hanoi Architectural Institute (HAI) is involved in researching the links between improved kitchen design and wood energy stoves. Such links are particularly important when the latter could help with space heating. The long-standing co-operation of HAI and Lund University in this subject is ongoing.
Focal points are the main contacts for RWEDP in a member country. Generally, in each country, there is one focal point in the energy sector, and one in the forestry sector.
Comments, questions? firstname.lastname@example.org
© FAO-RWEDP, 1999