Engie, a French multinational electric utility company, and Devenco, a local enterprise, have entered a partnership to explore possibilities in Cambodia’s nascent solar power industry. The new agreement could lead to the construction of a solar power plant in Kampong Chhnang province, although the project has yet to be confirmed.
Victor Jona, a spokesman at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said Kampong Chhnang is one of the different locations that Engie and Devenco are considering if the solar plant project is given the green light. He said the companies are now studying the country’s legal framework for the solar industry, and seeking negotiations with Electricité Du Cambodge (EDC) to sell power to the national electric grid. “The purpose of the MoU is simply to consolidate cooperation between Engie and Devenco in investing in Cambodia’s renewable energies sector,” said Jona.
Ieng Sophalet, a Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environment, said: “They signed an MoU, but no concrete action or project has been confirmed yet. There are many potential locations for the plant in the country. They are still thinking.” Sophalet added that the government supports any initiatives in the sector that are environmentally friendly and help the fight against global warming.
However, according to a recent post on the Ministry of Environment’s Facebook page, the partnership has a clear objective: to raise a 30-50 megawatt plant in Kampong Chhnang province. Kampong Chhnang Governor Chhour Chandoeun told Khmer Times he was not aware of the potential project, but said he would welcome it.
If the projects goes ahead and if the companies can reach an agreement with the EDC, Jona said, the companies would probably start construction next year, arguing that the cost of solar panels has recently declined in the Kingdom. In August, a $12.5-million, 10-megawatt solar farm in Svey Rieng province’s Bavet city – the country’s first solar power plant – came into service, selling energy to the national grid under a 20-year power purchase agreement. In September, Global Purify Power started groundbreaking work for a $400-million solar power project in Kampong Speu province that will be capable of producing 225 megawatts.