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Investment on ‘waste to energy’ boosted

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Rubbish piled up in a Phnom Penh street. Could it be turned into energy? KT/Chor Sokunthea

Investment on converting waste to energy in Cambodia has been boosted as part of urban garbage management in what officials said would help to keep the country clean and generate power for the grid.

Investment in generating power from burning waste is mentioned in the draft on urban waste management policy which is being discussed by inter-ministries mainly led by the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Environment.

The policy was discussed yesterday with participants including the heads of the inter-ministries of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Environment and Phnom Penh City Hall.

According to a report from the Ministry of Environment, 1.7 million tonnes of solid waste was collected and sent to waste dumpsites, a 15 percent increase year-on-year. The solid waste accounted for 51 percent of total rubbish in 2018.

The policy on urban solid waste management lasts from 2019 to 2028. One of the prioritised projects stated in it is that there should be investment in converting energy from urban solid waste – a new development for Cambodia.

The government has encouraged the private sector to step up investment in converting waste to energy in a marathon of discussions between commercial companies and the government’s ministries and institutions.

Victor Jona, director general of energy at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said yesterday that the high cost of investment and power tariffs generated from waste-burning power plants are higher compared with other power sources,.

“The tariff from burning to generate power is higher but it is important because it can keep our cities clean from waste and also get power for the grid,” Jona said.

“We have issued certificates for companies to conduct studies [on converting waste to power] but the cost of products make the power tariff sold to the EDC (Cambodia’s electricity authorities) higher and so it does not match government policy to decrease the cost of power every year to people,” Jona said.

The power tariff from waste-burnt power plants is around $0.14 to $0.15 per kilowatt hour sold to the EDC and power tariff from hydro dams is $0.06 to $0.07 per kilowatt hour. It is $0.08 per kilowatt hour from coal-fired power plants.

“Through the discussion, we hope the government through the Ministry of Economy and Finance will find an appropriate deal such as a subsidy policy to encourage waste-to-energy investment,” Jona said.

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