10th Ocean Dialogue: “Offshore Renewable Energy: Opportunities and Challenges to Green Transition”
The Dialogue is an opportunity for discussion on the potential for the development of offshore renewable energy in Vietnam in particular and in the South China Sea in general, the legal framework for such activities, as well as their impacts in different aspects from geopolitics, economics to energy security.

In his keynote address, Dr. Nguyen Minh Vu, Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed his optimism about the development of renewable energy in general and wind power in particular.

Dr. Vu said that offshore wind today produces clean electricity that is more competitive and less expensive than current fossil fuel-based technologies in the long run, while offshore renewable energy is on track to become the lifeblood of modern blue economies.

Therefore, clean energy sources have the potential to alter the political economy and geopolitics of many countries and regions. Investments in renewable energy have surpassed investments in fossil fuels in a number of jurisdictions, while dispersed models of renewable energy are helping in the fight against energy poverty. However, challenges remain - from the pandemic, conflicts, to the volatility of the energy market.

Dr. Vu pointed out that Vietnam is committed to joining hands to achieve the global effort of promoting energy, as demonstrated by the commitments at the COP26 conference and the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). Vietnam is an attractive venue for international cooperation in offshore renewable energy and also has high hopes for the active participation and support of partners through investment programs, technology, finance, and capacity building to realize the vision and aspirations to develop a climate-resilient, low-carbon economy.

The key issues being discussed in the Dialogue are (i) the relations between offshore renewable energy and geopolitics; (ii) the relations between the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and offshore renewable energy; (iii) regional and international practices in offshore renewable energy; (iv) policy recommendations for developing offshore renewable energy in the South China Sea.
10th Ocean Dialogue: “Offshore Renewable Energy: Opportunities and Challenges to Green Transition”

According to the panelists, as offshore renewable energy is playing an increasingly important role in both global and regional economies, its role is more influential in international political and economic relations. Meanwhile, geopolitical issues in the region - from great power competition, energy security or supply chain competition - also harm the development of offshore renewable energy in particular and the transition to greener and cleaner energy in general.

The panelists also discussed the legal framework governing offshore renewable energy in general and offshore wind power in particular. UNCLOS is considered the overarching legal framework and the foundation for a balancing approach between developing offshore renewable energy and maintaining common interests in managing and using the ocean.

The practice of developing offshore renewable industry in Vietnam and other countries in the region was also discussed, while policy recommendations were put forward. The panelists emphasized the need to learn from successful regional and international models in offshore renewable energy development to ensure sustainability and safety.

The panelists pointed out that international cooperation is the key to the development of offshore renewable energy in the South China Sea. Regional countries should have policies to encourage the use of new technologies, support infrastructure development, train skilled workforces and have appropriate financial incentives to minimize the risks for investors, so that offshore renewable energy in general and offshore wind power in particular can continue to develop, contributing to the regional effort to achieve net-zero emissions.

In the closing remarks, Dr. Nguyen Hung Son, Vice President of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, emphasized that countries bordering the South China Sea should well manage disputes to promote cooperation and develop offshore renewable energy for the development of the region.