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Vietnam and World Bank Group See Rice Husk Biomass as a Clean Energy Source

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, November 12, 2009 —The World Bank Group is working with Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade to address climate change by sharing new business models and financing products that could enable cleaner and more cost-effective energy production in Vietnam, including a waste-to-energy initiative involving rice.
IFC, the World Bank, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade today are hosting a seminar on rice husk biomass in Ho Chi Minh City. The seminar, “Rice Husk Biomass: Turning Waste into Energy and Profits,” will share key findings from a study recently completed by IFC. Vietnam, one of the world’s largest rice producers, has the potential to turn this byproduct into a cleaner energy source to replace fossil fuels, according to the study, which was supported by Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
The seminar will highlight regional experiences, address how Vietnam can develop and operate small-scale rice-husk power plants, and provide an opportunity for interested parties to learn about recent technological developments in low-emission power generation. The hosts also will explain how rice husk is a cheaper, cleaner alternative to imported coal.
The World Bank and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are working on policy framework to promote renewable-energy resources like biomass, while IFC will work with developers to build partnerships between rice mills and traders to secure supply, and support local banks to enter the new business of financing renewable energy.
Le Tuan Phong, Deputy Director General in the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s energy department, said: “We are excited about the potential to turn rice husk from an environmental problem to a cleaner-energy solution. We hope this will lead to a change in the behavior and value of energy producers, rice millers, and Vietnamese businesses that will result in economic and environmental benefits.”
“IFC’s support for renewable-energy development is an integral part of our climate change and sustainable development agenda,” said Karla Quizon, IFC Program Manager for Environmental and Social Sustainability in the Mekong region. “From our study results, we can determine project scale and location and advise the private sector on the most feasible options for rice husk energy.”
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org , www.miga.org , and www.ifc.org .
About the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is leading the government’s efforts in developing energy sector policies. The ministry has been working with various donors, including the World Bank Group, to develop a new policy framework for promotion of renewable energy. It is looking specifically into incentive mechanisms for renewable energy in Vietnam .