Technology costs for the first wave of wind farms in Vietnam: Paying extra for better wind nearshore
Technology analysts often dichotomize wind power projects as onshore vs offshore. They neglect nearshore projects installed in the intertidal flats. We explore the characteristics of this intermediate category using an original sample of Vietnam’s wind power projects for the 2018–2021 period. The median investment for onshore wind power projects in Vietnam is 1695 USD/kW. It is 2011 USD/kW for nearshore projects. Nearshore wind-power generation capacity requires about 20 % more investment per MW than onshore, inter-quartile range of 0 % – 45 %. Nevertheless, nearshore projects remain much less capital-intensive than far-offshore projects – projected at 3150 USD/kWh in Vietnam based on experience in OECD countries with fixed-bottom projects. Escaping the onshore vs offshore dichotomy allows us to consider a different policy direction for the industry. Rather than pursuing bluefield mega-projects far offshore, a “small steps” policy to extend nearshore wind farms may be cheaper, faster, and more institutionally feasible.