Power Plans Development in Cambodia

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The government is seeking investors for its proposed national electricity grid and is hoping to have the main backbone of the system in place by 2015.

The proposed national grid ? part of the 2013-18 Cambodia Power Development System plan ? will be controlled by the state-run Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), but Special Purpose Transmission Licences will be available to private companies to operate sections of the grid to supply individual consumers as well as rural areas off the main grid.

Phnom Penh, which accounts for 85 per cent of Cambodia’s electricity consumption, will be at the heart of the proposed grid. Substations will be built in the capital, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampot and Sihanoukville by 2011. The grid will be connected to western Cambodia by 2012 to supply electricity to Siem Reap, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey.

Electricity consumption nationwide has increased 12 per cent per year and consumption in Phnom Penh has risen 20 per cent annually.

Electricity costs in Cambodia are among the highest in the world, and only about 15 percent of the country’s 14 million people are connected to the power grid. The high cost is due to the country’s almost total reliance on fuel imports due to an absence of indigenous resources.

Electricity currently costs from 18 US cents per kilowatt-hour in Cambodia compared to around 5.4 cents per kilowatt in Vietnam so the provision of an affordable and reliable electricity supply is critical for the future of business in Cambodia.

Unreliable electricity supplies and high energy costs remain a major concern for businesses in Phnom Penh, where power outages are increasingly frequent in certain areas of the city.

The estimated current capacity for power production for the city is 190 megawatts, but demand runs at around 230 megawatts. The supplier solves this problem by cutting off the electricity supply to some areas on the outskirts of the city for one or two hours a day, which naturally causes problems for consumers.

In 2009 however, the city’s shortage of electricity could ease when the municipality begins purchasing 200 megawatts of extra power from Vietnam. The electricity will be imported via a new power line running from Vietnam through Svay Rieng and Kandal provinces to Phnom Penh.

Additional energy is expected to be available in 2010 with the completion of Khamchay dam, while a second dam in Sihanoukville is expected to further boost supplies in 2011.

The government also aims to strengthen fuel supply agreements with key trading partners to improve energy security and plans to build a coal-run power plant near Sihanoukville port to help supply the national grid.

Building hydroelectricity and coal power plants is the immediate priority of the Royal Government and 14 potential sites have been identified for hydropower plants with contracts already granted to Chinese companies to construct some of them.

Investing in Dams
Cambodia plans to be ready to sell electricity produced by new hydroelectric dams by 2016, and claims it will be energy self-sufficent by 2012.

The country aims to start exporting electricity in 2016 following the completion of a series of hydropower dams in the country's west and northeast.

The country plans to sell 1,000 megawatts of electricity in 2016 increasing in subsequent years as further hydropower dams are completed.

Cambodia currently uses a total of 400 megawatts, with 75 percent of this being consumed by Phnom Penh.

The dams are being built by companies from China and South Korea. The government is keen to speak to more investors.