Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Domestic energy boost reduces reliance on imports

Domestic energy boost reduces reliance on imports

Visitors look over Cambodia’s first operational coal-fired power plant at its launch in Preah Sihanouk province’s Stung Hav district in 2014.
Visitors look over Cambodia’s first operational coal-fired power plant at its launch in Preah Sihanouk province’s Stung Hav district in 2014. Heng Chivoan

Domestic energy boost reduces reliance on imports

Cambodia's domestic electricity production grew significantly in 2015, helping to reduce the Kingdom’s reliance on imported energy, the national electricity regulator said in its newly released annual report.

According to the Electricity Authority of Cambodia (EAC), the Kingdom’s energy generation increased by 46.79 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, with local energy production accounting for nearly 75 percent of the country’s total supply.

Energy imports from Vietnam decreased by 5 percent, reducing its contribution to the Kingdom’s electricity supply to just under 20 percent, compared to 26 percent in 2014, the EAC report’s figures showed. Imports from Thailand fell by 41 percent last year, reducing its total energy contribution to 5.11 percent, compared to almost 11 percent in 2014.

Demand for electricity continues to grow. The total number of electricity consumers in the country increased by 30 percent compared to the previous year, reaching 1.8 million in 2015, as efforts to expand access to the grid increased electricity coverage to 68 percent of the country’s villages last year, the report added.

Hydropower provided 48 percent of the country’s energy and coal provided another 47 percent, according to the data. The figures differ slightly from those released last week by the Mines and Energy, which show coal electricity generation surpassed that of hydropower in 2015.

According to the EAC annual report, relative to Cambodia’s increased capacity, coal’s contribution to energy production went from 28 percent in 2014 to 47 percent in 2015. At the same time, hydropower’s share of generation went down from 60 percent to 48 percent in 2015, with Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) figures showing hydropower still being the largest source in the country.

Total installed energy capacity in Cambodia reached 1,657,274 kilowatts in 2015. Within that, coal showed the highest increased capacity by percentage, going from almost 18 percent of total capacity in 2014 to 24 percent of capacity in 2015, while hydropower’s installed capacity remained virtually unchanged.

Mey Kalyan, a senior adviser to the Supreme National Economic Council, said expanding the country’s industrial activity depended largely on the Kingdom’s efforts to continue developing its energy sector. However, he said there was a need “to not only to focus on energy availability, but also on affordability”.

Despite increased production, the report did not highlight any major price decreases, a fact that may be tied to Cambodia’s economy of scale when it comes to energy production.

“Overall the price is gradually facing a downwards trend, but Cambodia often faces economy of scale issues, so it cannot cut prices to levels of Thailand or Vietnam,” he said.

“Coal is a traditional approach to address energy needs and in the Cambodian context, it can provide energy relatively quickly,” he added. “However, we also need more renewable energy, but it needs to be done gradually because shifting to renewables all at once is not realistic to fulfil the country’s energy demand.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.