Following the announcement earlier in the year that Toshiba Corporation had received an order to supply steam turbines and generators for the extension of Vinh Tan 4 coal-fired thermal power plant in Vietnam, the significance of both the industry topic and the Company’s significance in the region was brought to the fore.
Ordered by Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. Ltd of South Korea, the works which will begin in 2018 and open up in 2019 fit into a much wider commitment that the global heavyweight maintains within the Asia-Pacific domain; as well as a dedication to making said region as energy efficient and sustainable as possible.
Asia Outlook was fortunate enough to speak with Mr Takao Konishi, Vice President of Thermal & Hydro Power Systems & Services Division for the Energy Systems & Solutions Company within the Toshiba Corporation to analyse both facets of this strategy; and the state-owned Vietnam Electricity project itself.
Asia Outlook (AsO): Can you firstly briefly introduce me to Toshiba in the Asia-Pacific region, and how it is evolving in-line with the wider Company’s global expansion strategy from an energy perspective?
Takao Konishi (TK): Toshiba has been contributing solutions to the Asia-Pacific region’s energy needs since the 1960s. In 1995, we established Toshiba Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. (TAPL) in Singapore as our Asia-Pacific regional headquarters and TAPL oversees operations in Asia and Oceania, excluding Japan, China and Hong Kong.
In March 2016, Toshiba announced its business plan for fiscal year 2016, with an emphasis on businesses that sustain people and the future. Three focus areas were identified: energy, infrastructure and storage.
Worldwide demand is expected to remain vigorous. Leveraging expertise cultivated since its foundation, Toshiba is contributing to the creation of infrastructure that enriches quality of life for people throughout the world. In order to ensure stable supply of electricity, we offer hydro and geothermal power generation facilities in the renewables space, as well as thermal power generation systems.
Actively utilising export supporting schemes for infrastructure, including government financing, we are energetically promoting high value-added services, such as supply of quick-to-deliver, highly reliable and efficient turbines and generators. We also make a strong effort to grow our after-service business across the world including power up-rating and efficiency increase.
AsO: And how has this philosophy been reflected across different national requirements and changing industry trends over the years?
TK: In Vietnam, Toshiba first supplied four hydraulic turbines for the Da Nhim Hydroelectric Power Station, in 1963. In Indonesia, including ongoing projects, Toshiba will supply 19 units of steam turbines and 33 units of hydraulic turbines, with a combined capacity of nearly 7,000MW.
In the Philippines, Toshiba has supplied main power generating equipment and auxiliary units for thermal, hydro and geothermal power plants, and transformers and arresters for substation use; our first project in the Philippines was in 1965, the Agus VI hydro project, which is still running today.
In the area of renewable energy, Toshiba has the world number one share in steam turbine generators for geothermal power plants - 23 percent based on operating plant capacity - and our adjustable-speed pumped storage system for hydro power plant is the world number one on the basis of the number of plants. Our line-up of hydro turbines and generators extends from systems from small streams to large rivers, from 1kW to 800MW.
In the thermal power domain, we have 62 percent efficiency line-up in combined cycle systems, the world’s highest level. We are also working on development of a 700oC class A-USC (Advanced Ultra-Super Critical power generation system) that aims at high efficiency of more than 48 percent for coal-fired power plants.
AsO: More specifically, can you talk me through Toshiba’s role in Vietnam and its role in the energy sector especially? How did this transpire in regards to the steam turbine and generator contract for the Vinh Tan 4 power plant and Toshiba’s attainment of that contract?
TK: We have a long history of relations with Vietnam in terms of energy systems and services. As you will see below, we have supplied and will supply seven sets of steam turbines and generators (STG), orders received prior to the award of the 600MW STG for Vinh Tan 4 Extension. We believe our performance and results in other projects were highly evaluated by the concerned parties.
AsO: How does this relate to the general energy situation in Vietnam at present?
TK: Under its socio-economic development strategy for 2011-2020, the Vietnamese Government is concentrating resources on investments in constructing roads, a high-speed rail line on the North-South route, and urban infrastructure in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The Government aims to quickly develop electricity sources and complete a nationwide electricity net, along with the use of energy-saving technologies, to guarantee the sufficient provision of electricity.
Vietnam’s Power Development Plan envisions that Vietnam’s total power generating capacity is increased to 60,000MW by 2020 and to 129,500MW by 2030.
Strong economic growth is straining Vietnam’s power generation capacity, with Southern Vietnam particularly susceptible to shortages; and so far, Toshiba has contributed to Vietnam’s energy needs through numerous hydro and coal-fired thermal power plant projects.
AsO: What benefits does Toshiba’s STG bring to the Vinh Tan 4 power plant in regards to productivity, sustainability and other key parameters?
TK: Today's increasingly diverse societies require highly efficient power plants that are economical, easy to operate and offer large capacities. It is a challenging task to integrate the range of highly sophisticated technologies used in thermal power plants so that plants operate efficiently, economically and reliably under various operating conditions. In addition, continuous research and development of new technologies for future power plants is also required. As one of the world's leading manufacturers of power plant systems, Toshiba is uniquely qualified to meet the power generation needs of today and tomorrow.
We can provide excellent capabilities in system integration based on our long experience and many projects, and apply highly modularised technology to delivery.
Electricity has been a vital component of industry and modern-day societies since their foundation. Electricity is the cornerstone of society and industry, and thermal and hydro power plants must play an increasingly important role in meeting demand, in support of environmental safety. With the twin goals of ensuring reliable supply of electricity and protecting the environment, Toshiba is incorporating the latest in power plant and computer technologies into its systems, to ensure that society's power requirements are met; reliably, safely, and economically.
AsO: From this point, how do you foresee Toshiba’s role in Vietnam - and in influencing the energy sector - progressing in the future?
TK: Vietnam is a strategic market for Toshiba’s thermal and hydro power systems business and we will continue to pursue suitable opportunities in the country where we can contribute - through energy solutions - not only equipment supply but also plant system basis, in addition to aftermarket services, in a timely manner.