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Chinese company unveils plans for solar investment in Cambodia

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
A solar farm in Svay Rieng
A solar farm in Svay Rieng province, in the country’s southeast. KT/May Titthara

China Huaneng Group has unveiled plans to invest in a 200-megawatt solar project in Cambodia to help develop the Kingdom’s renewable energy industry.

In a meeting on Sunday with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, held on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum in Beijing, a representative of China Huaneng said the company has recently finished a study on Cambodia’s solar sector, concluding that the Kingdom has great potential in solar power generation.

“The study shows that Cambodia has enough hours of sunshine to make investments in solar viable,” Mr Hun Sen said in a post on his Facebook page.

“The company said it plans to invest in a project that will generate 200 MW in Cambodia,” the premier said.

Mr Hun Sen said he supported the project, and explained that solar can be a more reliable energy form than hydropower.

“Hydropower dams cannot operate at full capacity during the dry season because of water shortages,” Mr Hun Sen said in the post.

China Huaneng Group is one of the investors behind the 400-MW Lower Se Sam 2 Dam in Steung Treng province. The project is a joint venture with local company Royal Group.

The country needs new investments in energy projects to face the current energy deficit, Victor Jona, director general of energy in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, told Khmer Times yesterday.

Regarding China Huaneng’s plans, he said, “It is a good move because it will contribute to the sustainable development of the energy sector.

“The current energy deficit is the result of high temperatures and a water shortage. We hope solar and wind energy investments can help ameliorate the situation.”

Since power cuts began in March across the country, the government has approved several energy investments – a hydropower dam in Pursat province as well as solar farms in Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provinces – and increased energy imports from neighbouring countries.

According to Mr Jona, a new study shows that Cambodia also has potential in wind energy, particularly in Preah Sihanouk and Mondulkiri provinces.

Last year, Cambodia consumed 2,650 MW, a 15 percent increase compared to a year earlier. 442 MW were imported from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos in 2018.

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