The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded two grants for feasibility studies of renewable power developments in Vietnam and Malawi.

The first of the two grants will be for the 300MW Phase III of the Bac Lieu offshore wind farm in Vietnam, while the second one will evaluate the scope for a hydropower plant set up in northern Malawi.

An initial phase of the Vietnamese project has been operational since August 2013. The feasibility study at the facility will be conducted by Cong Ly, which presently operates the 16MW first phase of the project featuring 10 GE turbines.

The study will involve an assessment for wind resource and energy at the offshore facility, a review of permitting and land control issues, an electrical grid interconnection and foundation design, construction cost estimates, and a financing plan.

USTDA country manager for south-East Asia Sarah Randolph said: "USTDA is pleased to support the increase of renewable energy production in Vietnam through the expansion of Bac Lieu.

"This grant represents the next step in a series of successful partnerships with Vietnam’s wind power sector."

"This grant represents the next step in a series of successful partnerships with Vietnam’s wind power sector."

The second USTDA grant has been awarded to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining (MNREM) of the Republic of Malawi.

The proposed hydropower project in the African country will be built on the Luweya River in the Nkhata Bay District.

MNREM has picked US-based Water Wheel International to conduct the feasibility study for the project.

The initial phase of the proposed project will have a 15MW run-of-river system, which is likely to be expanded to 35 MW using Water Wheel International’s patented system in the second phase.

MNREM principal secretary Ben Botolo said: "The government has embarked on working with independent power producers."

"The support of USTDA and Water Wheel International will go a long way in the development of the energy sector in the country. This development supports the major power sector investment by the US Government, through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, whereby revamping of the power transmission system is underway across the country."