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Call for more power investments to meet province’s demand

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times Share:
Um Reatrey says his province needs more power investments to supply industrial activities and personal demand. KT/Khem Sovannara

Banteay Meanchey administration said the province boasts potential investment activities which need more power to meet local demand as it aims to reduce the energy imports from its neighbour Thailand in the northwest.

The province needs a capacity of 100 megawatts (mW) to supply domestic needs and has four special economic zones and a small-scale industrial park, provincial governor Um Reatrey said at a news conference yesterday.

One mW can produce as much as about five hours of electricity a day, but many factors can influence this.

Reatrey said currently power consumption relies on imports from Thailand and a distribution from Phnom Penh through Pursat province’s grid, where a 30mW solar farm is now being constructed that will be able to generate power to the province from October. “We hope that there will be more investors seeking investment in power in the province so that we can reduce the power imports from Thailand and take a step towards self-reliance,” he said.

Reatrey didn’t disclose how much energy the province imports from Thailand, but last year Cambodia imported 25 percent from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.

Among the four special economic zones (SEZs) in the province, he said Sanco Poi Pet SEZ and Poi Pet Ou Neang SEZ have a combine total of 14 factories, mostly invested in by Japanese, Thai and local companies involving electronics and auto parts.

Another SEZ, Poipet PP Special Economic Zone – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc – is also in the province. It is aiming to become a higher value-added production hub, particularly for electronics, mechanical and automotive parts.

In addition to serving investment activities, the power also supplies local people. There are about 191,000 families across the province and 98 percent of them have access to electricity. The remaining percentage will be covered by the end of this year or early next year.

Thailand-based Energy Company B.Grimm Power recently said its solar project in Cambodia is 20 percent complete after the firm took over the project from a local power company late last year.

The company said the solar farm project – with an installed capacity of 30mW – is being constructed in

Serie Saophoan, Banteay Meanchey province. B.Grimm completed the acquisition of local company Ray Power Supply Co Ltd last November for $300,000.

The solar farm is expected to be operational by October. The project is built under a 20-year power purchase agreement with national utility Electricite Du Cambodge.

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