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Clean Energy Week arrives as China slams brakes on coal plants

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Electricians install electric power lines on a steel power pole along Hun Sen Boulevard in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on Sunday. Heng Chivoan

Clean Energy Week arrives as China slams brakes on coal plants

EnergyLab Cambodia has launched its Clean Energy Week online campaign to showcase the opportunities clean energy can bring to Cambodia, running from October 21-28.

The sponsors of Clean Energy Week held annually since 2018 are the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh and UNDP Cambodia. It is co-sponsored by the EU-funded SWITCH to Solar programme, Heinrich Boll Stiftung Cambodia, Oxfam Cambodia and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The campaign is intended to amplify the message that clean energy is Cambodia's best choice for a strong economy and better future.

The events share how clean energy can bring Cambodia much-needed green investment and jobs, while supporting energy security, improving energy independence and setting Cambodia on a path to lower electricity costs.

Bridget McIntosh, country representative for EnergyLab Cambodia, said in a press conference on October 21 that as global economies are struggling to secure energy at expected prices and the cost of gas and coal soars, China announced last month that going forward they would only support green energy projects in developing countries and stop building new coal power plants in countries like Cambodia entirely.

Clean Energy Week raises the profile of clean energy and explains its importance and the benefits it brings to the Kingdom. And this is really important because right now the Cambodian government is finalising their power plans out to 2040, she said.

EnergyLab said Cambodia has an incredible opportunity to plan a future where it produces its own clean electricity ensuring secure, reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity for all.

It advocates for building the rest of Cambodia's power grid and supply using energy sources like solar, wind and certain types of hydropower combined with modern battery technology for storage as this would lower the country's electricity costs for consumers and save $16.4 billion dollars per year buying electricity from coal plants in neighbouring Laos – a significant amount that it said could be invested in additional clean energy projects in Cambodia that create jobs.

It projected that investments to build 11.6GW of solar and wind power in Cambodia would result in $6.8 billion dollars of investment and create over 51,000 jobs.

The garment and apparel industries in Cambodia with giants such as H&M, Adidas, Gap, Puma and Nike are also calling for this shift to clean energy because they have renewable energy and climate targets to meet in their home countries, and businesses across the world have set net zero targets that impact their supply chains, it said, adding that lower electricity costs would also reduce the companies' operating costs in Cambodia

Clean Energy Week this year will have 15 online events organised by EnergyLab or their partners that will be available to attend virtually by anyone for free to learn about how clean energy can help Cambodia by putting it on the green path as it recovers from the pandemic.

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