Clean or renewable energy investment projects have become an important part of the government’s policy to reduce emissions from fossil fuels such as coal and oil. It can also help lower electricity prices in Cambodia and attract financiers to invest directly in the country, as well as help improve the ability to export products to international markets.

Last week, the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) approved SchneiTec Vibrant Co Ltd’s $65.5 million for the construction of a 60 Megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Svay Chek commune of Svay Rieng province’s Rumduol district. 

Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rattanak stated at the recent “Mining and Energy Policy in Cambodia” forum that the country’s electricity sector has gone through many difficult stages over the past four decades, from a lack of electricity to an adequate supply, and is now on the way to exporting to neighboring countries in the region.

He added that along with the increase in production capacity, Cambodia is also “recognised as being full of clean-source energy potential”. Currently, over 60 per cent of the electricity used in-country comes from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and water.

“In the past, we relied on power generated from diesel or oil, which produced heavy dark smoke and loud noise. However, by the end of 2022, around 62 per cent of our national grid’s electricity came from clean and renewable sources. 

“This includes over 40 per cent from our country’s hydropower sources, more than 10 per cent from solar energy, a small amount of biomass power and clean energy imports from Laos,” he explained.

Rattanak added that when there is more electricity from clean sources, it also helps the country attract additional investment from large-scale international companies.

Keo Mom, CEO of Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd, one of the country’s largest food processing businesses, highlighted the impact of electricity costs on attracting both local and international investors. 

“Before [foreigners] invest in any country, the first question they ask is if there is adequate electricity and if the price is high or low,” she said.

She stressed that Prime Minister Hun Manet’s remarks on the subject have instilled a great deal of confidence in both investors and electricity consumers in the country.

“Lower electricity tariffs mean lower production costs, which would make Cambodian goods more competitive around the world,” she added.

During the closing ceremony of the 150MW Stung Tatai Leu hydropower project in Koh Kong province on November 30, the premier highlighted the significance of electricity as a priority area. 

“I would like to emphasise that the development of the electricity sector remains a crucial part of the [government’s] economic policy ... Energy is not just a necessity for people today; it’s also essential for driving the development of various sectors,” Manet explained. 

“Therefore, promoting the proper development of the … sector is vital. Rapid growth to achieve a sufficient, sustainable, stable, high-quality and affordable power supply throughout the Kingdom is key to fostering the country’s sustainable economic growth and enhancing the lives of its citizens,” he added.