The Minister of Mines and Energy of Cambodia, Keo Rottanak, has revealed that the southeastern Kingdom is looking towards renewable energy to meet its energy needs.
During the Singapore International Energy Week, the minister said that Cambodia must diversify energy sources while adding, “We will lean heavily on solar, complemented by wind, to augment what hydroelectricity can offer. Our aim is to integrate these with interconnections from Vietnam and Laos.”
Hydropower in Cambodia
Cambodia’s energy landscape dominated by hydropower in the renewable energy mix has been seeing volatile output. Solar and wind may have significant role to play in this regard.
“Hydropower is essential, but it’s vulnerable to environmental shifts. Our strategy is to maximise intermittent renewable energy, with a strong focus on solar, up to the grid’s capacity,” Rottanak said.
Cambodia will soon welcome a 1,000 megawatt hydro project soon.
“It’s time to transition from bilateral agreements to sub-regional and regional interconnectivity,” the minister informed. “If we can deploy submarine cables for the internet, laying subsea cables for electricity should be feasible,” he concluded.
Cambodia’s energy demands have risen in an unprecedented way from 34% in 2010 to 98% by 2022.
“Cambodia’s reliance on electricity imports remains high, with 25% of its power in 2019 coming from neighbouring countries such as Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Meanwhile, electricity demand peaked in 2022, with an approximate 16% annual growth rate,” ASEAN Centre for Energy said.
The Kingdom heavily relies on electricity imports to meet its needs, which are not being met sufficiently. Back in 2013 and 2015, the Kingdom experienced blackouts. To counter this challenge, Cambodia introduced a Power Development Plan (PDP) for 2022-40.
“Through this plan, Cambodia is focusing on bolstering energy security by leveraging domestic energy resources, rather than relying on imports,” they explained. “The PDP envisions a transition to a cleaner grid, emphasising hydropower as the primary source and reducing imports. To effectively implement this plan, the government has detailed the roadmap for power development in Cambodia, including investments needed for the 2022-40 period,” ACE added.
As per the 7th ASEAN Energy Outlook (AEO7), Cambodia’s cumulative installed capacity will touch 10 GW by 2050 under the Business as Usual (BAU) scenario. It further states that by 2040, hydropower will be at 4.45 GW, and outpace coal (2.26 GW) and oil (2.01 GW).