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Germany considers renewables funding

Germany’s development bank is considering expanding its investments into the Kingdom’s renewable energy and agriculture sectors, a visiting German parliamentarian told the president of Cambodia’s Senate last week.

Thomas Gambke, chairman of the ASEAN Parliamentary Group in the German Parliament, met with Cambodian Senate President Say Chhum on July 6 and touted the potential for growth in both industries, according to Senate spokesperson Mam Bunneang.

“As they see our economic growth is in the fast track, they want to get support from the government for their investment in the hydro dam and agriculture sector because he knows that we have huge potential in the sector, especially power,” he said.

Herbet Jaegar, vice president of DEG, a subsidiary of KfW, a German government-owned development bank, confirmed that his firm is currently looking at the feasibility of three agriculture and sustainable energy projects that are in the early stages of development.

“We would be interested to provide more financing for investments in agriculture projects and renewable energy projects in Cambodia, preferably solar power or power from biomass,” Jaegar said in an email yesterday.

DEG has backed local banks and microfinance institutions in Cambodia with over $100 million to fund SME projects in the past.

It recently funded a local rice mill with $15 million to expand production capacity and to process energy from rice husks.

Jaegar said, however, that DEG can only fund hydro dam projects that comply with the International Finance Corporation’s social and environmental requirements that are set by the World Commission of Dams, which Cambodian hydropower projects struggle with.

Solar and biomass energy, on the other hand, have greater potential for investment because of the large amounts of sunshine and land in Cambodia, according to Jaegar.

“Energy prices in Cambodia are still quite high so we feel that there should be some development.

If we know some companies that are looking at Cambodia to develop solar power, we feel that this is a very good idea,” he said.

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