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Solar power is making a strong showing in Vietnam after years of shuttling from one extreme to the other. Pixabay

Solar power is making a strong showing in Vietnam after years of shuttling from one extreme to the other, with the nation looking sometimes like it would revert to coal, and other times like it would invest in renewable energy.

By the end of last year Vietnam had surpassed Malaysia and Thailand to reach the largest installed capacity of solar power in Southeast Asia, with 44% of the total capacity, according to figures from Wood Mackenzie, a firm that sells consulting services in the energy industry.


The figures show that Vietnam is serious about solar power, an issue that had been up for debate for years. Solar supporters were encouraged to see the government offer a high feed in tariff (FIT), a fee pioneered in Germany to let solar panel owners sell power to the grid. This helped push Vietnam to reach 5.5 gigawatts of solar capacity last year.

Vietnam is also planning to construct more power plants fed with coal, casting doubt on the goal of more clean energy. Public resistance to coal appears to have shelved some of the construction, at least for now.


Solar power installation near a wind turbine at the Phu Lac wind farm in southern Vietnam’s Binh Thuan province. Pixabay

“FITs have proven to be an effective policy tool to induce rapid growth in renewables, and Vietnam’s build is another example of that,” Rishab Shrestha, a solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said. He added that “project economics will continue to remain attractive in large parts of Vietnam.”

Like other nations, Vietnam has yet to deal with some of the potential drawbacks of solar power, such as how to dispose of photo voltaic panels responsibly. The panels contain toxic chemicals like lead and cannot be recycled easily.

However solar and other renewable power, such as from wind, remains one of the cleanest options for Vietnam at the moment. It joins a growing global trend, from California, which enacted a law this year to require all new homes come with solar panels, to India, where railways are switching to solar power.

Next, Vietnam will have to decide how much it will pay for solar power. The tariff used to be more than nine U.S. cents per kilowatt hour but that price expired in June. Investors are waiting on a decision, which is being jointly prepared by three ministries, the Office of the Government, and the state power utility, according to Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, a law firm that advises clients on solar power. As part of the process, Vietnam Electricity, the state utility, sent a letter to the trade ministry with recommendations on how to set the tariff and who would be eligible.

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“The submission letter is not very clear,” said Oliver Massmann, general director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, in a blog post.

However he predicts that the government will settle on a tariff of just over seven U.S. cents per kilowatt hour for ground-mounted solar power projects, and a slightly higher tariff for floating solar power projects. Vietnam is pushing investors to provide power more affordably as consumption needs rise in the fast-growing economy. (VOA)


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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)


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Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features.

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When Alexa detects that the faucet has been left open, it will send users a notification as well so they can take appropriate action, it added. Amazon previously said at its event in September that it would add the ability to programme Alexa to recognise custom sounds, but that feature has yet to arrive. Having said that, the two new sound detection capabilities not only help users save energy, but they also make it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary charges on your home utilities, the report said.

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Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit.

By Olivia Sarkar
It's the holiday season, which means it's time to be merry! As the month of December approaches, we're all in a festive mindset. With Christmas just around the corner, there will be plenty of parties and get-togethers with friends and family.

Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit. The Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts offer distinctive cocktails ranging from Hot Toddies to Decadent Egg Nogs. Sit back and enjoy one martini at a time to make the festive season a little brighter.

Dirty Chai Eggnog:

Eggnog is a Christmas favorite that is accustomed to toasts for good health and prosperity. It is an American tradition that has spread around the world. Historically, it has been made using eggs, milk, and alcohol. Our culinary artists have given an Indian twist to this winter drink, making it quintessentially desi!



Recipe:

30 ml Bourbon
30 ml Baileys
90 ml Hot milk tea
Whole Spices
Sweet cream foam to top up

Garnish:
Cinnamon powder and star anise.

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