Powering Vietnam’s Electricity ShiftPower efficiency is becoming a pressing issue in Vietnam, where the electricity supply is struggling to keep up with rising demand from economic activities. VIR’s Phuong Ngoc Van spoke to Luc Remont, executive vice president for international operations at Schneider Electric, about possible solutions for Vietnam’s power shortage problem as well as what the European firm can do to help.
Can you tell us the purpose of your visit to Vietnam?
Asia in general and Vietnam in particular are new and rising stars for us. My trip to Vietnam showcases Schneider Electric’s (SE) commitment to the country, which is to continue bringing innovation in energy solutions as well as assisting Vietnamese companies in maximising their business performance. The potential here is huge. During this trip, I am meeting many stakeholders in Vietnam to discuss how our technologies can benefit different industries and enable power automation.
What is your view of Vietnam’s economic growth and its prospects as a fast-growing consumer of electricity?
Vietnam is one of the rare countries which can still keep its economic growth rate higher than the world average. The economy is consistently and sustainably growing, reflecting the overall development of Vietnam. We see a lot of key developments taking place and the Vietnamese economy is diversifying to cover the needs of the country’s young and growing population.
We are already investing in our manufacturing capacities here and we are very happy to contribute to Vietnam’s economic development. We see Vietnam not only as a market, but as a place to continue developing our own know-how and manufacturing capacity.
We believe that Vietnam’s dynamic growth will continue in the future. To support this growth, there will be higher demand for efficient energy management, not only for large corporations, but also for small- to medium-sized enterprises. SE is happy to provide our EcoStruxure solutions to improve safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity for our customers.
This trip must have given you a closer look at Vietnam’s electricity shortage issue. What is your view on this matter?
Vietnam’s energy shortage is characteristic of a fast-growing economy. We are not an operating network and we do not generate power ourselves, but what we can bring are technologies that can promote energy efficiency and improve power distribution. There are several types of technology that can address this problem. Firstly, advanced distribution management systems can help operators organise distribution and operate the grid more efficiently. SE is the global leader in this kind of software.
Secondly, some countries like India have developed their own local storage capacities. This means that energy is deployed directly to households for storage, and this stored power can be used later. Vietnam has the potential to do the same.
The key to solving a power shortage is balancing demand and supply. We are working with all sides to achieve this. For example, we are showing consumers how to use energy more efficiently. We are also working with suppliers and distributors to facilitate this balance via both centralised and decentralised sources.
On a regional level, SE will continue our annual competition called ‘Go Green in the City’ in 2018, to encourage young people to come up with innovative solutions for smarter and more energy-efficient cities. Also, SE will continue its ‘Light it up’ campaign to bring access to lighting and energy to vulnerable communities across East Asia and Japan.
Schneider Electric has been performing quite well in Vietnam, especially in recent years. Would you like to tell us about your performance in Vietnam and how is the new factory at Saigon Hi-Tech Park doing?
SE introduced many solutions in various industries such as EcoStruxure SecurityExpert, EcoStruxure Solution, EcoStruxure Building, and others; we received positive feedback on our products from large Vietnamese corporations.
Among other means, SE will continue to promote EcoStruxure through thought leadership, events, webinars, and social media. SE will also continue the ‘Bold Idea’ campaign, combining world-class content partnerships with the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist with a sponsored programme from CNBC including thought leadership and content marketing outreach.
We have recently built a new factory in Saigon Hi-Tech Park. SE Manufacturing Vietnam was put into operation in early 2017. The company has delivered on its promise to bring new high-tech products to Vietnam’s market. This new factory carries all technologies for smart buildings. All technologies are connected inside the buildings to make it more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. It is an example to show to customers in Vietnam. Recently, most of our premium switches such as dimmers have been produced by SE Manufacturing Vietnam, for the domestic market and for export to other international markets in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.
Schneider Electric has been active in promoting power efficiency in Vietnam. How do you see the trend of power efficiency in Vietnam going forward?
Vietnam is moving from being an energy exporter to an energy importer due to the country’s fast growth. The change of energy mix in the country means the future of energy will embrace a more decentralised generation capacity. The way you connect generation with users is another technology to achieve with new solutions. We are providing this connection capacity and a way to work with decentralised generation. As a fast-growing country, there are plenty of infrastructure developments from water systems to lighting, airports, and data centres still needed. All of these are called critical infrastructure, because they can’t afford to be turned off. Thus, they deserve specific monitoring, specific surveillance, and specific automation to avoid outages during operation. We provide energy with high reliability to ensure no outage for hospital surgeries. The same goes for data centres and for airports, where we can’t afford even one second of power loss.
With regards to digital capacity, our technology connects all the points of the power system. It eases data treatment and enables the use of smart infrastructure. We are employing it in airports, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure in emerging markets.
All of the solutions we are providing are part of EcoStruxure. It is an open architecture, an ecosystem of technology where you can find products connected to the Internet of Things, to automation, to both hardware and software, and to data centres. We provide a full suite for all infrastructure sectors. There are some outstanding cases in which SE has implemented its solutions. Real estate projects that successfully utilised SE solutions are Rivera Park Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, in which Long Giang Land – our local partner – chose SE’s electrical devices, which meet the criteria of being safe, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly.
Another success story is DTS Data Centre. Using outstanding infrastructure solutions from SE, DTS’s data centres achieved a 99.99 per cent readiness.
In green construction, SE has signed co-operation deals with market leaders in the field, such as Phuc Khang Corporation. This is an important step towards building green cities in Vietnam.
Does Schneider Electric have any plan to co-ordinate its activities between Vietnam and other markets in the region?
We are a global business with focused regional management, so we have already co-ordinated between Vietnam and other markets. Most notably, we are manufacturing in Vietnam to serve Southeast Asia as well as Australia. As expected from our strong regional co-operation, Vietnam-based operations have received support from other markets. Similarly, our Vietnamese business will take on new responsibilities to develop SE’s business in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.