The use of clean energy in Cambodia’s national grid has risen significantly, now constituting over 62% of total energy consumption, approximately 2,400 megawatts (MW). The country also intends to export its energy production to regional nations, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Energy minister Keo Rattanak made the remarks at the “Mines and Energy Policy in Cambodia” forum on November 21, organised in collaboration with the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ).

He stated that after nearly three decades of effort, the country has achieved the capability to supply electricity to almost every village nationwide.

He said that the country has made substantial contributions to reducing emissions from fossil fuels, such as coal and fuel oil, by utilising clean or renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and water.

Rattanak noted that the nation’s transition from fossil fuels to clean energy has garnered international recognition. He highlighted that ASEAN principles mandate member countries to source 35% of their energy from clean or renewable sources by 2030. Cambodia has already surpassed this target, reaching over 60% in 2022.

“In the past, we relied on power generated from diesel or oil, which produced heavy dark smoke and loud noise. However, by the end of 2022, 62% of our national grid’s electricity came from clean and renewable sources. This includes over 40% from our country’s hydropower sources, more than 10% from solar energy, a small amount of biomass power and clean energy imports from Laos,” he explained.

“Our energy sector has already almost doubled the ASEAN average for the 2030 plan,” he added.

The minister also mentioned that peaceful areas which were once battle or minefields, have now transformed into power generation or transmission line network points.

The ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) emphasised that energy security is of paramount concern for the country, as it strives to meet growing energy demands. Electricity access in the nation dramatically increased from 34% in 2010 to 98% by 2022.

“Cambodia still heavily relies on electricity imports, with 25% of its power in 2019 sourced from neighbouring countries like Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Additionally, the country’s electricity demand peaked in 2022, growing approximately 16% annually,” the ACE stated.

Severe blackouts in 2013 and 2015 highlighted the country’s dependence on imported electricity, according to the group.

Rattanak said that the nation currently has the capacity to produce about 4,000MW of energy, while its daily consumption is only around 2,400MW. He believes this presents an opportunity for the country to consider exporting energy to regional countries in the future.

He mentioned that Singapore, which primarily relies on natural gas for about 95% of its power needs, is interested in purchasing energy from Cambodia through submarine transmission lines passing through Malaysia and Vietnam, connecting to Cambodia and Laos. 

He explained that Singapore’s interest in buying energy from these countries is driven by a desire to reduce fossil fuel consumption and lower energy prices.

He asserted that Singapore’s current energy consumption is between 7000-8000MW, and as the country seeks to expand further, it views Cambodia as a potential source of clean energy.

“Singapore has invited us, and we are working closely with them to engage Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos in a collaborative effort to invest in regional energy. The initiative aligns with ASEAN’s long-term goal to establish an interconnected energy network across the region,” he said.

According to Rattanak, the Kingdom’s commitment to clean energy sources also presents an opportunity to attract major international companies for further investment.