February 9, 2022
PHNOM PENH – The amount of solar energy transmitted through the national grid is around 10 per cent higher than in the same time last year, and authorities are encouraging more investment in clean and renewable energy, according to the head of the state electric utility.
Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) director-general Keo Rottanak told The Post on February 7 that the Ministry of Mines and Energy and EdC have been working to increase the power supply capacity and meet the growing demand inspired by economic growth.
He highlighted two main goals in the undertaking – ensuring sufficient electricity supply and providing clean energy sources.
A 20MW solar farm in Monorom commune, Svay Teap district, Svay Rieng province was recently hooked up to the national grid through connection to a distribution network in Bavet town, bringing the province’s solar power generation capacity to 30MW, he said.
He added that this will curb reliance on electricity supply from the capital and hydropower sources such as the Sesan river, stimulate investment activities, and promote what he termed a “green-energy zone”.
He stressed that Cambodia regards the furtherance of clean energy generation as a major priority. “This results in the provision of sufficient energy in Cambodia, with the appreciation that the sustainability of environmental protection is ensured,” he said.
About 350MW of solar power has been integrated into the national grid, with Pailin province accounting for the lion’s share at 90MW or 25.7 per cent, followed by Kampong Speu (80MW; 22.9 per cent), Battambang and Kampong Chhnang (60MW; 17.1 per cent), and Banteay Meanchey and Svay Rieng (30MW; 8.6 per cent), he added.
“But we also have plans for hundreds of megawatts to be deployed in the future,” Rottanak said, suggesting that the new Law on Investment, Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would draw in even more investment.
“We can guarantee that there will be enough power to supply factories, enterprises but if there are some disruptions, they’d be caused only by something unforeseeable,” he said.
“We are highly committed to increasing the rate of clean and renewable energy.”
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said electricity is always a concern for investors, and crucial for driving socio-economic processes.
Guaranteed sustainable and affordable electricity supply would increase the allure for investors, lower production costs and give Cambodian products a more competitive edge on international markets, he said.
“Increasing the power supply capacity, especially from renewable energy, will help attract more investment and reduce environmental impact,” Heng said.
In the rainy season, Cambodia on average imports around five-to-10 per cent of its energy needs – from neighbouring countries – but that rises to 20 per cent in the dry season.
According to Rottanak, nationwide electricity demand hits a maximum of around 2,000MW in the dry season, which is far lower than the combined installed capacity of 3,000-megawatt peak.