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Siemens urges gov’t to boost power grid

Workers perform maintenance on electrical cables in Phnom Penh's Chamkarmon district earlier this month.
Workers perform maintenance on electrical cables in Phnom Penh's Chamkarmon district earlier this month. Heng Chivoan

Siemens urges gov’t to boost power grid

Cambodia needs to focus on solidifying its national grid and shoring up its energy efficiency and transmission lines before expanding into more costly renewable technology, a visiting executive of German engineering giant Siemens said yesterday.

Markus Lorenzini, president and CEO of Siemens for Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, said that by strengthening the existing electricity supply, Cambodia could reduce its costly power prices as it works toward its goal of providing electricity to 100-per cent of rural villages by 2020 and 70 per cent of the Kingdom’s households by 2030.

“In developing countries like Cambodia, governments often look at cheap and short-term solutions when it comes to the reliability of components that can mitigate unplanned outages,” he said during a company-sponsored seminar.

“I think this country has recognised that it needs to have not just one single source for power, and has opened up the electricity supply chain to diesel, coal and hydroelectricity generation,” he said.

Scaling up those capabilities offers the most immediate return on investment, he added.

Lorenzini said while the government should not shy away from the potential of renewable energy, there needs to be a clear understanding of what is economical and viable.

“Renewable in the future is great, but right now the country needs state-of-the-art technology for power generation,” he said.

Addressing the seminar, Ith Praing, secretary of state at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said that while Cambodia currently has 928-megawatt capacity in hydropower alone, it was still open to considering options in renewable energy.

“First we need to make progress in our distribution and transmission of electricity,” he said.

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