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PM talks green energy for Cambodia, ASEAN

Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the 30th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks at the 30th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Prime Minister Hun Sen insisted that ASEAN’s energy ministers discuss ASEAN’s power connectivity plan yesterday, and called for all member states to produce green energy as well as lower-priced equipment.

The prime minister’s appeal came during the opening of the 30th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh.

“We should require producers to take extreme care in their research and to study to find solutions for inexpensive, high-quality products that are easy to use, in order to succeed in achieving the goal of green energy quickly,” he said.

The energy ministers of all 10 ASEAN member states as well those from Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the United States participated in the meeting. Also present were officials from the International Energy Agency and the EAS-ASEAN Economic Institutes as well as the ASEAN Private Energy Business Forum.

During the meeting, on ASEAN’s power grid connectivity, the Prime Minister said renewable energy and energy efficiency would help reduce climate change and carbon dioxide emissions. He said renewable energy sources including hydro, wind and solar powers must be effectively developed.

Hun Sen also requested the transfer of technology for green energy systems from developed countries to developing countries like Cambodia that have underdeveloped energy sectors.

“Green energy and connectivity must be developed and the transfer of renewable energy technology from technologically advanced and economically developed nations needs to be transferred to ASEAN’s poorer countries,” he said.

The prime minister said the plan for ASEAN power grid interconnectivity would support ASEAN’s infrastructure of integrated economies across the region with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community 2015.

He said the plan had not yet been realised because some ASEAN countries have not partnered with their neighbours.

“ASEAN’s power grid connectivity and inter-ASEAN CO2 containment has not reached a satisfactory result as of now,” he said.

Maria Van Der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said during the meeting between ASEAN ministers and IEA officials that she agreed with Hun Sen’s address, which focused on three areas: infrastructure investment, emissions and energy security.

“I call these the three key priorities for IEA as well,” she said, adding that renewable energy is important to develop in ASEAN countries while the the global oil market remained uncertain.

Van Der Hoeven said the high price of oil was clearly affecting oil import-dependent countries.

“The era of cheap oil is over, and even ASEAN countries have to accept that oil prices are high, which should encourage them to open the way for investments in new technology.”

She said ASEAN countries needed more energy infrastructure investment support from development banks.

“In ASEAN countries, we estimate that around 151 million people lack electricity access and stay in rural areas,” she said.

Supalerk Kanasook, project manager of the Project Development Program of Renewable Energies for South-East Asia at the German International Cooperation Organisation (GIZ), said GIZ has provided technical assistance to Germany companies in six countries across ASEAN.

While GIZ had various biomass projects in Thailand and wind energy projects in Vietnam, Kanasook said GIZ didn’t have any renewable energy projects in Cambodia and needed to carry on discussions with local colleagues about the possibility of such projects.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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