October 27, 2020 Read More →

Kepco coal project in Vietnam draws charges of hypocrisy

The Straits Times:

Pressure is mounting on South Korea to exit a multimillion-dollar coal project in Vietnam, with a consortium of 21 European investors being the latest to raise objections to the country’s decision to invest in coal overseas while pursuing a low-carbon initiative back home.

Green activists are already up in arms over what they have called a “hypocritical” move by the state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) to go ahead with the Vung Ang 2 coal project in Vietnam, weeks after President Moon Jae-in declared a climate crisis and the National Assembly voted in favour of setting a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The European consortium, which manages over US$5.5 trillion (S$7.5 trillion) in assets, sent a letter last week to firms involved in the project, including Kepco, Samsung C&T, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, the United States’ General Electric and Energy China GPEC. 

Ms Thu Vu, energy finance analyst of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a global think-tank, noted that Vietnamese negotiators are still “carefully reassessing the necessity of the project” in view of factors such as the possibility that the new coal plant may “no longer be cost-competitive” by the time it is completed, say, in five years.

South Korean sponsors might not be able to afford the time needed by their Vietnamese state partners, “given the quickly narrowing window for fossil fuel financing and mounting pressure from global investors and green activists”, she added.

[Chang May Choon]

More: South Korea in hot seat as calls to exit Vietnam coal project grow

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