Cambodia has called on ASEAN and the international community to focus on the ongoing clean-energy transition, as a crucial pillar of post-Covid-19 sustainable and resilient socio-economic recovery.

Prime Minister Hun Sen made the call on September 15 in his opening remarks at the 40th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting, Related Meetings and ASEAN Energy Business Forum 2022, themed “Accelerating Energy Transition: Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth”.

As this year’s ASEAN chair, “Cambodia will continue to contribute to the development of new initiatives and promote greater [participation] in all energy transition activities and projects in the region in the most effective way possible”, the premier said.

He put forward four initiatives for the ASEAN energy ministers to consider and provide support for: promoting the “implementation on the connectivity” of the ASEAN Power Grids (APG) and Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipelines (TAGP); and supporting the “implementation of policies, laws and regulations on clean energy, environmental protection and natural resource management as much as possible”.

The other two were to “strengthen and expand international cooperation” in the field; and to “actively participate” in fulfilling the objectives of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2021-2025.

“Cambodia has actively integrated renewable energy sources into our energy mix. In fact, in 2021 energy from renewable energy sources, including hydropower, solar energy and biomass energy, increased to 40 per cent of Cambodia’s total energy.

“Also, in terms of the power capacity of Cambodia’s energy sources, the share of renewable energy sources is around 55 per cent of the total installed power capacity.

“For the way forward, Cambodia will continue to focus on the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy to the fullest of Cambodia’s energy supply system, along with the reduction of the development of the energy sources that use fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.

“To realise this objective, Cambodia has been cooperating with development partners to study and develop Cambodia’s Power Development Master Plan until 2040, the National Policy on Energy Efficiency, the Roadmap for Clean Energy Transition towards Carbon Neutrality and the Rooftop Solar Energy Development Policy in Cambodia,” Hun Sen said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem on September 12 assured global energy decision makers that Cambodia, with input from regional leaders, has set goals towards achieving carbon neutrality and strengthening energy security.

The minister was speaking at Fifth East Asia Energy Forum in Phnom Penh on September 12 organised by the Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

After thorough studies, the Kingdom developed and adopted the Power Development Master Plan 2020-2040, a long-term comprehensive plan that includes growth forecasts for electricity demand, expansion plans for additional power supply, and construction plans for transmission and distribution systems, Sem said.

“Cambodia’s energy vision is to supply adequate, affordable and reliable electricity to all types of consumers everywhere in the country,” he added.

In its “Position Paper on Renewable Energy in Cambodia” released on September 2, the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) encouraged the industrial sector to implement effective renewable energy (RE) policies and called on the government to remove capacity charges on solar energy and fully embrace renewable sources.

As Germany’s GIZ notes, the state-run utility Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) levies a monthly “capacity charge” based on the demand contracted with customers that connect at higher voltage levels, although this only applies to solar systems at present. “All other technologies [are] charged a simple, one-part, per-kWh [kilowatt-hour] tariff.”

EuroCham said in the paper: “Capacity charges are too high. The penalty for solar electricity is about $0.07/kWh for larger solar systems and $0.84/kWh for smaller systems. This cannot be the intent of the solar regulation and makes the investment economically unattractive and unviable.

“The implementation of solar rooftops could push Cambodia towards an energy transition and also help to meet the growing demand.”