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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - GE looks to deal with government on coal plants

Workers stand in front of a coal-fired power plant in Preah Sihanouk province during its launch in 2014.
Workers stand in front of a coal-fired power plant in Preah Sihanouk province during its launch in 2014. Heng Chivoan

GE looks to deal with government on coal plants

US-based energy giant General Electric (GE) hopes to finalise an agreement with the Ministry of Mines and Energy by November that would see the Kingdom’s coal and gas plants using emissions-monitoring technology for the first time, company executives said yesterday.

Massimo Gallizioli, commercial executive for GE’s Steam Power Systems business in the Asia-Pacific region, said the Continuous Emission Monitoring System would track and closely analyse local pollutant emission levels for all power plants across the country when the agreement comes into force.

The data would then be sent to the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) to give Cambodia the capability to fully understand how much carbon dioxide (CO2) – the gas most heavily linked to climate change – the country is emitting on a real-time basis.

“There is a lot of pressure on the coal industry, with people looking into efficiency, pollution and a country’s C02 footprint,” Gallizioli said. “The monitoring system will be important for the government to understand its level of emissions, especially as it is likely that the country will invest more into coal as the electricity demands increase.”

He added that this was a “good first step” for the country and would also be the first emission monitoring system GE has deployed in Asean.

The system is part of an agreement signed in April when GE won a contract to outfit the new 135-megawatt coal-fired plant – the Kingdom’s third – which is owned by Malaysia’s Cambodian Energy II Co Ltd (CEL2) and is being built by Toshiba Plant Systems and Services Corporation in Preah Sihanouk province.

While Wouter Van Wersch, GE Asean president and CEO, admitted that any plant smaller than 250-megawatts lacks the capacity to introduce “ultra-supercritical technology” which gives a plant the esteemed moniker of being “clean coal” by industry standards, he said that the monitoring system and latest technology would ensure that the CEL2 plant is as efficient as possible.

“The concern with coal comes primarily from plants operating with a low level of efficiency,” he said. “With GE technology being used, Cambodia will be able to compare the emissions of the CEL2 plant against the others in Sihanoukville, which are currently not operating as they should.”

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