Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Renewables can replace fossil fuels by 2050: WWF



Renewables can replace fossil fuels by 2050: WWF

A worker at Star8 solar factory in Phnom Penh installs solar panels in January 2014. The Environment Ministry said it is working to make eco-friendly and green technologies tax free.
A worker at Star8 solar factory in Phnom Penh installs solar panels in January 2014. The Environment Ministry said it is working to make eco-friendly and green technologies tax free. Vireak Mai

Renewables can replace fossil fuels by 2050: WWF

Cambodia can realistically get 90 per cent of its energy from wind, solar and biomass by 2050, the World Wildlife Federation found in a new report published yesterday.

Renewable energy will soon be cheaper than fossil fuels, especially when factoring in dollars lost to environmental damage and health costs, according to the WWF.

But wider investment in renewable power and energy efficiency needs better regulations and clear legal targets in Cambodia, WWF said.

“WWF needs to work closely with the Royal Government of Cambodia, NGOs, CSOs and business leaders,” the organisation’s country head, Chhith Sam Ath, said in a statement.

According to the report, which analyses different future energy mixes, Cambodians could be using 29 per cent less energy by 2050, with as much as 90 per cent of that energy coming from solar, wind and biomass. The remainder could come from fossil fuel and dams. WWF projects potential cost savings of $700 million per year in fuel costs and much more in prevented damage to nature.

As of 2014, the Kingdom relied 62 per cent on hydro power, 19 per cent on liquid fuel, 18 per cent on coal and 1 per cent on biomass, according to the Electricity Authority of Cambodia.

The WWF also urged the Kingdom to lower its reliance on polluting fossil fuels and dams – the latter being a centrepiece of Cambodia’s attempts to become more energy self-sufficient.

The government should create targets and sort out inconsistent value-added taxes and import duties on renewable technology, said Richard de Ferranti, a consultant with Mekong Strategic Partners.

Under WWF’s proposed vision, Cambodia can get close to half its power from the sun.

“Cambodia has one of the best solar resources in ASEAN,” Ferranti said, referring to studies that show Cambodia rates higher in solar radiance than its neighbours.

Remote villages are cheaper to electrify with off-grid solar than building expensive, inefficient power lines, said Gnhoung Choumnit, deputy director of energy development at the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Meanwhile, if just 40 Phnom Penh factory roofs can be fitted with solar panels, they can make 100 megawatts of power, enough for tens of thousands of homes, Ferranti said.

For this to take off, the government has to make a way for panel owners to “sell” power into the grid, according to Arjen Luxwolda, a managing director at solar provider Kamworks.

But Chhun Sophal, with the National Council for Sustainable Development, urged caution, saying that fully phasing out fossil fuels and hydro dams is not realistic.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of