Construction on a major rice husk biomass power plant has begun in southeastern Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district and is expected to be completed by July, in seven months.

Designed to contribute to the Kingdom’s emission reduction efforts, the plant broke ground on December 8, in collaboration with Singapore-based Berkeley Energy Commercial and Industrial Solutions (Becis), with capital investment of $5.8 million.

Located in Prek Eng commune’s Roboh Angkanh village, the facility will use waste paddy husk sourced from nearby Prey Veng province to the east, and initially supply energy to the Heineken Cambodia brewery.

Ministry of Environment secretary of state Sao Sopheap said renewable energy such as biomass had garnered significant attention from the public and private sectors and could contribute to reducing fuel consumption in the Kingdom.

The new project “will further contribute to expanding the use of renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the climate change response”, he said.

And Becis country manager Neil Allen shared: “We are very proud of this moment for the Kingdom of Cambodia and our partnership with Heineken Cambodia as we transition towards a sustainable energy future.”

Heineken Cambodia hopes to save 17,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by switching to biomass energy, saying the plant would enable the brewery to reach 100 per cent renewable thermal energy, and to reduce its CO2 emissions in production by 60 per cent.

Its corporate affairs director Anne Ollivier said the power plant represents a major step in the company’s ambition to reach net zero emissions in production by 2030.

“In the past decade, we have been focusing on the energy efficiency and have started to use renewable energy such as biogas. We have already reduced our CO2 emissions by 50 per cent since 2013,” she said.

She noted that the firm’s commitment to sustainability is not new, saying the “Brew a Better Cambodia” sustainable development ambition has been part of the company culture for a long time.