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Winds of change for energy industry

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times Share:
Singapore-based The Blue Cirlce has completed its feasibility studies on a project to build a wind park in Kampot province. AFP

A leading Southeast Asia energy firm’s plans to create the Kingdom’s first wind turbine farm are one step closer to being realised.

Singapore-based The Blue Circle are in the early stages of negotiation with the state-run electricity supplier Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) to thrash out a power purchase agreement (PPA) over the farm, which will be located on Bokor Mountain in Kampot province.

“The process could take between six months to a year to complete and the PPA could be as low as 7 cents per kilowatt-hour,” said Victor Jona, director general of Energy at the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Once a deal has been struck, construction of the clean-energy farm, which will feature a minimum of 10 wind turbines and the capability to produce 80 megawatts per year. In general, one megawatt can serve the energy needs of between 225 and 300 houses over 12 months.

Power consumption across the country last year reached about 12 million kilowatt hours, an increase of 23 percent on 2018. Hydropower currently dominates and serves 33 percent of the nation’s needs, but the government is on a mission to diversify into “stable and reliable” energy sources contributing to the national grid to meet growing demand.

According to a recent study by the Asian Develop- ment Bank (ADB), Cambodia has further potential for 10,000 megawatts (mW) of hydropower, with 8,100 mW and 6,500 mW respectively for solar and wind power.

Keo Rattanak, director-general of EDC, previously said that the country’s energy mixture will change drastically in upcoming years, noting that the government will be able to produce at least 20 percent of the country’s requirements from solar energy systems in the next few years.

“We want to integrate green energies into the country’s economic development strategy because it is good for the environment,” he said.

Construction work on five solar parks are in fact being fast-tracked so they can be connected to the national grid as soon as possible this year, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy. The projects, spread over Svay Reign, Pursat, Kampong Speu, Battambang and Banteay Meanchay provinces will cumulatively boost the nation’s annual power supply by a total of 160 mW.

Plans are also already in motion for two further solar farms to start generating energy in 2021. Located in Kampong Chnang and Pursat provinces, they will contribute a further 120 mW of power to the national grid every year when fully operational.

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