Photo: Illustration/Ingine’s wave energy demonstration plant in Jeju Island, South Korea (Courtesy of Ingine)

USAID backs Ingine in navigating regulatory hurdles for Vietnamese wave power scheme

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will support Korean company Ingine in its efforts to pilot a new wave energy plant on Vietnam’s Ly Son Island by providing technical assistance to help navigate regulatory and environmental hurdles.

Illustration/Ingine’s wave energy demonstration plant in Jeju Island, South Korea (Courtesy of Ingine)
Illustration/Ingine’s wave energy demonstration plant in Jeju Island, South Korea (Courtesy of Ingine)

USAID has engaged the International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) to provide technical assistance for Ingine in obtaining environmental permits for the project planned for Vietnam.

ICEM specializes in helping governments and companies with sustainable development, focusing on climate change, biodiversity, water, and energy.

The company will conduct a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on behalf of Ingine, as well as a learning report and gap analysis comparing Vietnamese environmental law and international standards for EIAs.

ICEM will help Ingine navigate the regulatory environment so the company can focus on technology development and implementation.

Also, ICEM’s learning report and gap analysis will also lay out a roadmap that future market entrants can follow.

It will provide a template for conducting a wave energy EIA and capture local nuances like the consultative nature of development in Vietnam, which requires extensive engagement with government ministries and agencies.

These resources will help open up a new market for wave energy and make it possible for private companies to scale this technology in the future without donor support, according to USAID.

ICEM’s Mike Stephens said: “ICEM has been working in Vietnam for over 20 years now. We understand the institutional framework that governs EIAs in Vietnam and we have team members who’ve worked in government agencies. We can draw together experts in marine biology and coastal engineering and social economics to provide a really high-standard, integrated assessment – so it puts us in a good position to work with Ingine on a project like this.”

Ingine’s staff has deep expertise in wave energy and engineering, but limited experience navigating Vietnam’s regulatory environment. And, while the technology seemed harmless to the environment, Ingine had limited data to prove this point to regulators.

Ingine’s business development director Dae Hyun Kim said: “Of course, we knew it would have less environmental impact than a fossil fuel power plant. And we don’t use any hydraulic systems, so there is no oil leakage. We did a small impact study for our Jeju demonstration plant, and we didn’t see potential issues for the environment. But we didn’t have the full package of an environmental impact assessment.”

Ingine has been running a demonstration plant off the coast of Korea for more than five years, and the company is dedicated to improving the technology and helping bring it to scale.

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