More than 450 megawatts (mW) of solar power will be connected to the national grid by the end of 2021, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME).
MME’s spokesman Victor Jona said that 60mW from a plan 90mW solar station in Pursat province’s Krakor district, are now connected into the national grid with the remainder coming on line by February next year.
A megawatt is a unit for measuring power and represents 1 million watts which is equivalent to the energy produced by 10 automobile engines or used by 330 average homes for an hour.
Jona also said that the work of a 30mW solar power station in Banteay Meanchey province and a 60mW solar station in Battambang are around 90 percent complete. Another 60mW solar plant project in Kampong Chhnang province, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the additional 20mW solar plant in Svay Rieng are under construction.
At present, Cambodia has three solar power stations connected to the grid: a 15mW operation in Bavet city, Svay Rieng province, an 80mW one in Kampong Speu province and a 60mW power plant in Kampong Chhnang’s Teuk Phos district, he said.
“By the end of 2021, those solar stations will be completed and will be connected to the national grid,” said Jona.
The MME’s spokesman and the director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Energy, said Cambodia will have 465mW of solar power to be connected to the national grid – about 15 percent of the clean energy among the total source of energy in the Kingdom.
He said that this year’s demand for power is not an issue and Cambodia has left-over power because some business activities in the country have been suspended, especially in the industry and service sectors (hotels and guesthouses) because these sectors were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The blackout in some areas in Phnom Penh recently was not about a lack of power, but it was because we have expanded the grid, fixing in the station and connected the network to another grid. Therefore, we switched the power off and on in some areas,” Jona added. He said to have secure and stable energy in the country, the government is considering developing a mixed energy approach. This could be from hydro-power dams, solar and wind power, with some from coal power plants. “We cannot solely consider clean energy because it is not stable. Clean energy depends on its origin and the season. Some sources of power are able to generate power in the rainy season while some can generate it only in the dry season. Therefore, we have to develop a mixed energy source to ensure its security,” Jona stressed.
The total amount of electricity available for the country last year was measured at 3,382mW, up 28 percent from 2,635mW in 2018. Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) said the capacity demand of energy during daytime peak demand is 1,812mW and peak demand at night is 1,566mW.
EdC Director-General Keo Rattanak said at the launch of the Switch Garment project in September that in the next few years the government aims to increase the share of solar energy in the mixture of power sources to at least 15 percent.
“We are going to increase our solar energy alone by 200mW in the next few years and, by 2030, approximately 1,815mW of solar energy is expected to be added, representing 17 percent of peak demand. If you look at the numbers in the rest of Asean, Thailand gets 7 percent of its energy from solar and, if they added other new sources into the mixture, it would have 12 percent. Japan, South Korea and Malaysia generate less than 5 percent of their energy from solar,” he said. Rattanak added that renewable energy includes solar, waste energy, wind and biomass.
“We are actively exploring the potential of energy sources such as biomass and wind energy – and hydropower is also being promoted,” he added.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.