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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Move to lift energy efficiency in Cambodia

Move to lift energy efficiency in Cambodia

130220 08
A food vendor walks past a power station in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

A national energy efficiency policy is currently in development, officials told the Post last week. Experts at the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy (MIME) and the multi-donor fund EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF) are in discussions about details of the policy, which they plan to publish in May.

“Against the background of a constantly rising energy demand, yet limited scope for a respective increase of energy production and distribution, EUEI PDF is working closely with the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy (MIME) on the development of a National Energy Efficiency Policy, Strategy and Action Plan,” an information note published this month by EUEI PDF said.

The project started in August 2012 and involves technical and executive personnel from MIME and EUEI PDF as well as six international consultants.

According to the EUEI PDF document, the future policy and strategy will focus on energy efficiency in industry, end-user products and buildings.

It would also provide strategies for rural electricity enterprises attempting to decrease energy losses in electricity production and distribution.

Furthermore, the policy will boost the use of biomass resources.

During the past few months, experts have analysed energy use at commercial and institutional buildings; factories of the garment, rubber, ice, brick, rice milling and food industry; and rural electrification enterprises.  

“Cambodia’s total energy consumption is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.2 per cent for the period 2009 to 2035. The industrial sector is expected to have the highest growth followed by residential/commercial sectors,” the document said, emphasising the importance of adequate political and regulatory frameworks.

“The national projected energy consumption annual growth rate can be reduced down to 4.3 per cent, representing an overall reduction of future energy demand of 20 per cent by 2035, compared to the ‘business as usual’ projections,” the EUEI PDF document continued.

To reach this goal, the multi-donor fund wants to improve co-operation between public and private institutions and raise public awareness for energy efficiency.

According to the document, the government and EUEI PDF plan to set up an energy consumption data base and appropriate legal framework conditions. The partners will financially and technically support energy efficiency investments in industry, buildings and the residential sector.

Efforts to contact somebody at the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy who is involved in the project were unsuccessful yesterday.

“It would be very important and help to minimise costs. Increasing energy efficiency is even more important in Cambodia, where electricity is so expensive compared to the neighbour countries,” said Lay Khim, assistant resident representative and team leader of the UNDP’s environment and energy cluster in Cambodia.

He added, however, that such a policy should also include the energy supply that is currently problematic. “Improving the energy efficiency would only be one step, but also the capacity of the electricity grid needs to be improved.”

Touch Samphors, administrative manager at garment factory ASD Cambodia, also noted that the current energy supply is lacking. “The energy supply provided by the government is not sufficient and always cuts off,” she said.

The project team is now working on the definition of the strategic objectives of the Energy Efficiency Policy and the development of a detailed Action Plan. The final draft policy, strategy and action plan will be presented at a workshop in Phnom Penh in early May.

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