Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 17 authorised two conglomerates to begin researching clean energy projects, as this ties in with Cambodia’s goals of energy security and carbon neutrality.

The premier gave the green light during a courtesy call by Dhanin Chearavanont, senior chairman of Thai-owned Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, at his residence in Kandal province’s Takhmao town, just outside the capital. Dhanin sought the government’s support to promote the development of clean energy and strengthen the integrated agro-food value chain in Cambodia.

At the meeting, in addition to committing to improving the value of animal feed and the agro-food industry, Dhanin informed Hun Sen of his intention to work with locally-owned Soma Group to produce clean energy in Cambodia.

“CP Group will look for opportunities in hydropower and other clean energy projects in Cambodia,” he said.

Hun Sen expressed his enthusiasm and confidence in the investment direction of CP and Soma in relation to the clean energy sector for Cambodia, which would help the Kingdom achieve its plan on carbon neutral policy.

The premier asked the two companies to cooperate with relevant state institutions on the projects, which he expected would achieve great results.

Heng Kimhong – research and advocacy programme manager at the Cambodian Youth Network (CYN) and himself an environmental activist – said enabling investors to expand studies on the potential and affordability of clean energy will strengthen the sector.

“In order to maintain climate balance during this time, every country in the world, including Cambodia, needs to promote the use of clean energy. I think we should all be encouraging increased investment in clean energy projects,” he added.’

Kimhong added that the government should closely monitor legal standards and ensure that the clean energy extraction processes are transparent and that there is no corruption in the study process. At the same time, he would also like to see other multinational firms invest in the Kingdom’s clean energy sector as well.

On August 3, in the Joint Statement of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings, Cambodia as the chair of ASEAN welcomed the approval of the climate agreement at the 26th UN climate change conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, the UK.

As with other ASEAN member states, Cambodia reaffirmed its commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In 2020, Cambodia was one of 72 countries which submitted its updated report of its contributions to the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to the UNFCCC Secretariat before the deadline.

In 2021, the Kingdom introduced “Cambodia’s Long Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality” with a goal of achieving zero emissions by 2050.