Electricity Capacity to Expand With Laos Coal Deal

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Cambodia is set to significantly expand its current power capacity in a $5 billion, 30-year deal to tap into coal-fired generators in Laos.

According to a statement issued by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, Cambodia will have access to 2,400 MW of electricity from Laos at 7.7 cents per kW-hour, a lower price than domestic generation and imports from Thailand and Vietnam.

Cambodia’s total energy output capacity was 2,175 MW in 2018, 62 percent of it from hydropower and 36 percent from fossil fuels, according to the Asian Development Bank.

TSBP Sekong Power and Mineral will offer a capacity of 600 MW, while Xekong Thermal Power Plant will provide 1,800 MW, the statement said.

The deal would help provide a stable electricity supply even during dry seasons, it said, adding that transmission wires would need to be constructed.

“Investment activities have increased sharply more than previously, especially in the construction sector. This has caused impacts and will make power consumption in 2019 and upcoming years increase beyond plans,” the statement said.

The deal was struck a day ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

Daily power outages riddled households and businesses across the country during the dry season earlier this year, with Cambodia’s hydropower reservoirs dried up and industries offered reduced prices.

Previously, the government said it would turn to solar, not coal, to shore up its energy needs. High energy prices have long been considered an economic obstacle for the country.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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