The government is looking for investors to build a waste-to-energy plant in Phnom Penh that is capable of producing 50MW, said Ministry of Mines and Energy spokesman Victor Jona.

Speaking to The Post on Sunday, he said an inter-ministerial team is now looking for partners for the project.

“This type of plant is very important for us at the moment. It would provide electricity while reducing the amount of rubbish in landfills in Phnom Penh, which will reach maximum capacity soon.

“Although waste-to-energy generation can be costly, we are still pushing for it. If we do not build a plant like this, we could face a shortage of landfills by the end of this year,” he said.

Many companies have expressed interest in this type of project but ultimately backed down due to the costs involved in producing energy this way.

He said the Ministry of Economy and Finance is now stepping in to facilitate these types of investments. “Through subsidies from the ministry, we can considerably bring down the costs involved and make this project a reality,” he said.

On March 5, the inter-ministerial working group, chaired by Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem, met with senior government officials to study the project.

At the meeting, the officials agreed to allow advisers from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Infrastructure of Asia Singapore to participate in the consultative process. The landfill in Phnom Penh’s Dang Kor district was chosen as a site.

In Phnom Penh, rubbish has increased from around 2,600 tonnes per day in 2018 to 2,900 tonnes last year, said a report from the Ministry of Environment.

In 2020, daily rubbish generation is believed to have reached between 3,000 and 3,500 tonnes. About 30-35 per cent of the rubbish could be burnt to generate electricity, said Jona.

“By burning that much rubbish, we can generate as much as 50MW in the beginning,” he said.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the project will be good for the environment. “This type of plant will reduce rubbish in the city. It will benefit everyone,” he said.