Cambodia aims to increase its renewable energy share to at least 70% by 2030, contributing to environmental goals and economic growth, with a particular focus on energy efficiency.

Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rattanak emphasised at a recent press conference that eco-friendly sources like solar, wind, hydro and biomass will significantly contribute to the country’s environmental and economic objectives.

“As we produce more electricity from renewable sources, we see the true benefits of [sustainable energy]. This includes greener buildings, appliances, electric vehicles and the electrification of industry and agriculture,” he said. 

“This necessitates focusing on battery storage, extending the grid and adopting smart grid technologies. These are crucial for generating renewable energy and ensuring a stable, sustainable energy supply in the future. Although these objectives may appear distinct, they are interconnected, with each one’s success dependent on the others,” he explained.

Rattanak highlighted that ASEAN principles require member countries to source 35% of their energy from clean or renewable sources by 2030, a target Cambodia has already exceeded, achieving over 60% in 2022.

“In our global energy future, we cannot act in isolation. We live in an era of energy interdependence. Regional connections are vital for enhancing energy security, sharing renewable energy and reducing the environmental impact of energy projects,” he stated.

“Cambodia aims to not only meet its needs but also to explore exporting clean energy, particularly to neighbouring countries like Singapore,” he added.

Officials from the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) emphasised that energy security is a top priority for Cambodia as it strives to meet increasing energy demands.

The nation’s electricity access dramatically increased from 34% in 2010 to 98% by 2022. 

The centre noted that the country still relies significantly on electricity imports, with 25% of its power in 2019 sourced from neighbouring countries like Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. In 2022, Cambodia experienced a peak in electricity demand, growing at an approximate rate of 16% annually.

ACE pointed out that the extensive blackouts in 2013 and 2015 highlighted the country’s dependency on imported electricity. These challenges prompted the government to strengthen measures to ensure the nation’s energy security. 

Cambodia has developed a Power Development Plan (PDP) for 2022-40, aimed at preventing future blackouts and mitigating power supply issues.

“Through this plan, Cambodia is focusing on enhancing energy security by utilising domestic energy resources instead of relying on imports. The PDP envisions a transition to a cleaner grid, prioritising hydropower as the main source and reducing import dependency,” the centre explained.

“To effectively implement the plan, the government has outlined a roadmap for power development in Cambodia, including the necessary investments for the 2022-40 period,” it added.