Irish energy company Mainstream Renewable Power has secured key approval for the first 200MW of its 1.4GW Phu Cuong Soc Trang offshore wind project in Vietnam.

In a statement, the company said that it had received a Decision on Investment and an Investment Registration Certification (IRC) from the provincial government for the project’s first phase.

Mainstream said the receipt represents a ‘significant step’ towards financial close for the project, which is expected next year.

The Phu Cuong Soc Trang project is located off Vietnam’s southern coast.

Once fully operational, the offshore wind farm is expected to become the largest in South East Asia.

It will generate enough electricity to power more than 1.6 million homes while displacing 1.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

Mainstream owns a 70% stake in the wind farm, with the remaining 30% stake owned by Phu Cuong Group.

The project is expected to start delivering power in 2023 if it reaches financial close next year.

Mainstream Asia-Pacific general manager Cameron Smith said: “We are excited to be a part of Vietnam’s energy transition with the Phu Cuong Soc Trang project, which is being developed to the highest international standards, drawing on Mainstream’s extensive experience.

“Being leaders in renewable development in many countries, we understand the importance of community engagement, and we are pleased to have had such positive support from the Soc Trang community.

“The Phu Cuong Soc Trang project promises to be a catalyst for the development of a true offshore wind industry of a scale that will promote the achievement of net-zero by 2050.”

Earlier this year, Mainstream Renewable Power agreed to acquire an 80% stake in Vietnam-based company Technology and Development Joint Stock Company (D&T).

D&T is currently developing three solar power projects, with a total capacity of 405MW, in Vietnam’s Dak Nong province.