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PM asks Japan for help to build power lines

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Transmission towers near Phnom Penh. The government plans to build a high-voltage transmission network in the border with Laos. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Prime Minister Hun Sen last week asked his Japanese counterpart for assistance to finance a high-voltage transmission network to carry electricity from Laos to Phnom Penh.

The Cambodian premier made the request during his visit to Japan to attend the International Conference on the Future of Asia, a four-day event held in Tokyo.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh on Monday, Mr Hun Sen said the high-voltage transmission network is needed to transfer power from Laos to Cambodia, and noted that Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) recently signed an agreement to purchase 200 MW from Laos.

“In my trip to Japan last week, I met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to ask for help to finance the transmission lines capable of transporting 500 kilowatts from the border with Laos to Phnom Penh, which is about 350 kilometres,” Mr Hun Sen said.

The energy will be produced at Laos’ Dan Sahong hydropower dam, near the border with Cambodia. The dam is scheduled to begin production in 2021.

After being hit by a power shortage this year, Cambodia has drafted a strategy to increase the power supply by increasing local production as well as imports.

Victor Jona, director general of energy, told Khmer Times on Tuesday that the high-voltage transmission network will replace the existing low-voltage one.

“Because demand for power is so high, we need to increase locally generated power as well as energy purchases from other countries. The demand for power will continue to increase in years to come, so we will need to boost imports,” Mr Jona said.

In March, the Royal Group of Cambodia partnered with China Southern Power Grid and China Huaneng Group to carry out a feasibility study on the high-voltage transmission network.

A recent report from the Ministry of Mines and Energy shows that the country’s electricity supply will rise by more than 16 percent in 2019, reaching 2,870 MW. 2,428 MW will be generated from local sources, while the rest will be imported from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.

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