Recent developments

Following the resolutions of the National Assembly, the Government of Vietnam and the Party Committee under the Ministry of Industry and Trade ("MOIT") for the implementation of transitional provisions of the new Master Planning Law, the MOIT recently issued Decision No. 329 officially setting out the principles and priority orders for the inclusion of new power and energy projects into the master plans.

Decision No. 329 inherits certain key contents, with some modifications, from the previous Resolution No. 21 of the MOIT's Party Committee. Decision No. 329 sets specific orders of priority for the MOIT and other governmental agencies' reviews and approvals for numerous newly proposed projects applying for inclusion in the master plans.

Decision No. 329 makes the master plan approval process more selective in terms of energy sources, power generation technologies and certain characteristics of specific projects, such as their location, grid connection plan, development progress and scale, among other factors.

These rules may significantly impact private developers of different types of projects that have been newly proposed or are being developed but are pending final approval for inclusion in the master plans, ranging from renewable (wind, hydro, biomass, waste-to-energy) power projects to conventional (LNG-to-power) projects.

While the development of these rules indicates an intended process of continuing to approve more projects in the master plans (including amended PDP VII) for developments, the specific policies contained in Decision No. 329 create new areas of uncertainty for private developers, especially those developing projects under low-priority categories, due to the lack of a detailed guidance on implementing the selection process for various types of projects, whether under Decision No. 329 or elsewhere.

We set out below the specific priority order for projects to be included in the existing master plans under the MOIT's Decision No. 329.

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