2019 is shaping up to be another red hot year for APAC Renewables. Australia’s pipeline continues to grow at a rapid pace at the front end, whilst construction and commissioning continues on over 6 GW of solar and wind projects. With a federal election to be held by May, all eyes will be on Canberra and the possibility of a national energy policy post 2020. Further north in Vietnam, construction of 2 GW of Solar is underway, in order to meet a June 2019 deadline for a FiT of 9.35 US cents/kWh. Whilst in Malaysia details of the third Large Scale Solar Auction are due to be announced in January.
NSW Continues adding significant capacity. Mirus Wind and Energy Estate made quite the entrance to the Australia market with the proposal of the 4 GW Walcha Energy Project, located in the New England Region of Northern New South Wales. The project consists of up to 650 MW solar and 3400 MW of wind. The wind component alone makes it the second-largest project in the Tracker behind only the mammoth Asian Renewable Energy Hub.
The Malaysian government is to announce the details of the third large-scale solar (LSS) auction in January 2019. The Minister for Energy, Yeo Bee Yin, stated in November 2018 that the targeted capacity was for 500 MW. Experience from the first two rounds of LSS auctions has shown they were significantly over subscribed, i.e. significantly more capacity offered by developers than targeted by the government.
Another key trend is the government consistently approves more capacity than targeted. The first LSS targeted 250 MW, while 431 MW was awarded, in the second LSS 460 MW was targeted and 562 MW was awarded. With two years since the last auction and bids expected to be cheaper due to the declining cost of solar, it is expected that this trend will continue.
The auctions are not without their downsides. One of the key restrictions of the auctions is that each successful bidder is only allowed to develop an aggregated capacity shown below.
Such small-scale projects sometimes put off larger international developers. As such the Malaysia solar pipeline lags behind its neighbors, most notably the red-hot Vietnamese market.
Developers in Vietnam stepping on the gas. Developers in Vietnam are working towards getting their projects operational by the end of June. This is the deadline in order to receive the government feed in tariff of 2086 VND/kWh (9.35 US cents/kWh). Rystad’s RenewableCube is currently tracking 2 GW of solar projects under construction in Vietnam, with a total pipeline capacity exceeding 20 GW.
As the deadline draws closer the amount of PV plants expected to enter the construction phase is expected to reduce, with the absence of policy post June 2019. The exception is the Ninh Thuan province where the deadline for commercial operation of solar projects to receive the 9.35 US cents/kWh has been extended to the end of 2020. With Vietnam’s energy demand set to grow rapidly over the next decade and the success of the FiT scheme for attracting foreign investment and expertise, it is expected that the Vietnamese government will announce a policy update in 1H 2019 to continue incentivizing PV development in Vietnam.