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Be careful in order not to scratch a precious gem
By Linh Lan
Wednesday,  Dec 23, 2020,18:18 (GMT+7)

Be careful in order not to scratch a precious gem

By Linh Lan

Recently, a company from Thailand has spent some US$90 million buying the Tan Chau-Tay Ninh and Phong Dien II (Thua Thien-Hue) solar-power plants. The step is part of a plan to expand its reach in Southeast Asia in the renewable power industry, which is thought by the company to face little risk but to hold high potential for growth.

This is one of the merger and acquisition (M&A) deals that have secretly been conducted by foreign firms by pouring their money into multiple renewable power projects owned by Vietnamese firms over the past few years.

What does this situation mean?

Many people said that the financial capacity of local firms is not strong enough to maintain the operations of these long-term projects. It can also be explained in a more positive way that it is normal given Vietnam’s deepening international integration. The change may activate some projects that have hibernated for a long time, bringing about high economic efficiency.

To be fair, all deals to acquire renewable power projects from foreign investors have not been whistled. Is it because foreign investors know the way as they are thoroughly knowledgeable about Vietnamese laws, or because local firms are so inexperienced?

Despite the rising number of these M&A deals and interest in the renewable power projects, many investors have also voiced concerns over the potential of solar power or the treatment of used solar panels whose lifespan of 25-30 years ends.

Concerns have been widely circulated on social media, or even flared up at National Assembly sessions, over the future of used solar panels, saying such panels will become beef-drying places in the Central Highlands region. A lack of understanding or misconception of renewable power and solar panels have neutralized the efforts of investors in the field that has been creating good impression on the community.

The Sao Mai Solar grassland in association with ecotourism.

It is high time to objectively assess the true value of solar power to the community.

It has been generally admitted that the introduction of renewable energy is a great achievement of technique, science and technology, showing the pioneering spirit of a few domestic firms which are tapping the solar power source.

Power from the source will be the best solution to lessen reliance on fossil energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure national energy security. Besides, the development of solar power projects is expected to curb deforestation for building hydropower plants and prevent coal-seam digging for coal-fired thermal power facilities. Meanwhile, solar energy is free and environmentally friendly.

Drawing the investor’s right portrait

Unlike some investors who pursue short sale, a group active in various fields such as seafood export, real estate and seafood production has spent its money building the most modern and beautiful solar power plant on the Cam Mountain, with a desire to turn the renewable energy sector into a “money-printing machine.”

“As an investor, they will not pour huge amounts of money into “nothingness” without careful calculation. As such, it is nonsense to equate true investors with those who are keeping up with the Joneses,” said a representative of a prestigious group active in the solar power sector.

The green Sao Mai in the Bay Nui (Seven Mountains) region.

In Vietnam, the development of the solar power sector is decades behind that in many countries in the world. The investor who has successfully built a solar power plant on the That Son range in association with ecotourism, therefore, is a genuine one. The investor has correctly defined the benefit of the clean energy when combining it with other fields.

While the solar power source is considered as a gem, genuine investors can play a key role in honing and polishing the raw gem into a precious gem.

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