Cambodia’s energy security woes

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Kung-fu Hillbilly
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Cambodia’s energy security woes

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly »


Han Phoumin, ERIA
25 October 2019

Cambodia should have a lower tariff as most of the investment costs in power generation such as coal-fired power plants and hydropower are based on conventional technologies.

Economic growth in Cambodia is constrained by a lack of appropriate policy for electricity access and energy security. Only 50 per cent of Cambodia’s population had electricity access in 2016. Remarkably, by 2019, the number of households connected to grid electricity grew to almost 80 per cent.

From March to June 2019, there was a huge shortage of 400 megawatts of electricity during the dry season. This was due to weather conditions, which produced a low water level in a hydropower reservoir. Such a large shortage demonstrates the weak capacity of Electricity of Cambodia (EDC) to manage a vulnerable power supply mix.

Oil supply in Cambodia is provided by multinational private companies such as Chevron, Total and PTT and Cambodian suppliers like SOKIMEX and Tela. Government regulation stipulates that these companies are to hold 30 days of operational oil stock at terminals. But these companies only hold operational oil stock of about 15–20 days as the country does not have mechanisms in place to monitor these holdings.

The government should first consider households with energy supply that is insufficient to meet their basic needs. Technologies such as rooftop solar photovoltaics, solar farms and standalone small generators can provide fast access to electricity for remote areas in the short term. The government should support investment to connect these areas to the electricity grid in the long term.

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