Kampong Speu Solar Farm To Start Generating Energy In April

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Amid a dry spell that has led to power cuts across the Kingdom, Electricite du Cambodge announced last week that a 60-megawatt solar power park in Kampong Speu province will start generating power next month, roughly four months ahead of schedule.

A solar farm in Svay Rieng province. KT/May Titthara

The solar farm will become fully operational in August this year, EDC said in a Facebook post.

“The 60MW solar farm in Tmat Pong, located near Phnom Penh, will generate 20MW in mid-April and will run at full capacity in August,” EDC said.

“The project will be complete four months ahead of the date stipulated in the contract.”

Yim Viseth, chairman of the Electricity Authority of Cambodia (EAC), said the plant will be brought online earlier, despite not being at full capacity, to combat power woes in the country.

“We are facing a shortage of power and the EDC has made this a priority issue, so the fact that we can get this project online ahead of schedule is pretty good,” Mr Viseth said.

Aiming to increase total energy output, the government recently revealed two new 180MW solar projects, in Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provinces.

Both are still in the initial stages of development and have yet to be granted government approval.

“The Ministry of Mines and Energy presented these projects to the government but there are not specific details yet. We need to wait for more concrete proposals,” Mr Viseth said.

Moreover, EDC in February started calling on private firms to enter the bidding process for the construction of a 60MW solar plant project in Kampong Chhnang province.

The country’s first solar farm came online in 2017. The $12.5-million, 10MW solar farm was completed in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet city by Singaporean firm Sunseap.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday said the country is now facing an electricity shortage of about 400MW, leading to power outages, and appealed to people, especially those in the business sector, to understand that this is because of an ongoing dry spell.

“Climate change is not only affecting Cambodia but the whole region. We need water to produce electricity,” he said. “I urge people not to waste water as we will experience a long dry season which will last until June.”

“A large amount of our electricity is produced through hydropower dams, but now there is a shortage of water so the dams can only generate a small amount of electricity,” he said. “We currently lack 400MW, and we are seeking solutions to tackle this issue.”

Last year, Cambodia consumed 2,650MW, a 15 percent increase compared to a year earlier. 442MW were imported from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos in 2018.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.