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Kingdom lays out the welcome mat for renewable energy investment

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Trainees assemble a solar lantern at a workshop in Manila. NOEL CELIS/AFP

Kingdom lays out the welcome mat for renewable energy investment

The government welcomes investment from Germany in the Kingdom’s solar and renewable energy sector as local demand for electricity continues to rise between 15 to 20 per cent annually, Ministry of Mines and Energy official Victor Jona said on Tuesday in Phnom Penh.

Jona, who is the director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Energy, made the comment at the Conference on Industrial & Commercial Solar in Cambodia, which was organised by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Myanmar.

“It is the right time for German investors to invest in solar and renewable energy in our country as we currently enjoy high political stability. The climate is favourable for such investments.

“With sound political stability boosting confidence for them [German investors] to inject their money, their investments can also contribute to power development, job creation and maintaining a clean environment,” he said.

Jona said the government aims to generate 410MW from solar energy by the end of next year, which represents between 15 and 17 per cent of total energy production.

“Within Asean, I don’t see any other countries that can generate 10 per cent of their energy from solar facilities.”

Delegate of German Industry and Commerce in Myanmar Martin Klose brought four active German companies specialising in renewable and solar energy to encourage direct dialogue with local firms, exchange information and mobilise investment opportunities in Cambodia.

“We are encouraging German investors to invest in Cambodia’s solar sector. We are convinced that there are suitable opportunities.

“And we have decided to bring German companies to the Kingdom to look at the market and consider the many potential opportunities they may find,” he said.

Speaking during the opening of the conference, German Ambassador to Cambodia Christian Berger said a German Business and Cooperation Desk is scheduled to be set up in the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) to share information with and provide services to investors from both countries.

“There is a plan to have a permanent Desk here in Phnom Penh. This shows that the potential of the Cambodian market is growing. The Desk will, of course, be set up inside EuroCham because this is the only economic option for advocacy as well as for providing services,” he said.

Jona said the government has established solar farms in Svay Rieng province’s border town of Bavet and Pursat, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces.

The government provides a nine-year tax holiday for investors in the sector and does not impose taxes on imported materials for project construction.

In early April, the Council for the Development of Cambodia approved the registration of two Schnei Tec Co Ltd solar power stations each with a 60MW electricity capacity in Kampong Chhnang province’s Teuk Phos district and Pursat province’s Krakor district.

The stations will be built under a build-owned-operate framework with more than $58 million invested in each with a 20-year concession term.

Last year, Cambodia consumed 2,650MW, a 15 per cent increase compared to 2017.

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