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Cambodia Country Report

Cambodia Country Report

Status of Sustainable Energy related Technology and Policy in Cambodia

Prof. Dr. Sok Kunthy

Royal University of Agriculture (RUA)

Chamcar Daung, Dangkor, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tel/Fax: (855-12) 831 243, E-mail: s_kunthy2005*yahoo.com (replace * with @)

Abstract

Climate change has been taking place throughout the history of the earth. It is only recently that mankind has begun to exert its own influence. It is thought that the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases from the increased use of fossil fuels are responsible for some of the warming of the global climate during the 20th century. Cambodia’s energy sector has a crucial role to play in the country’s continued development. However the current situation in Cambodia with respect to energy costs, service provision, sustainability and security may prove to be a barrier to development. Cambodia has no proven fossil fuel reserves, and is almost completely dependent on fully-imported diesel fuel for electricity production and other power applications. The impacts of this are widespread and appear to hinder development in terms of economic growth and poverty reduction. Renewable energy is an energy created by sources that are not used up or depleted. Using more renewable energy sources would reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and minimize global warming. Sources of renewable energy include hydroelectric power, wind power, biomass, biogas, geothermal energy; and solar power. Since about 80-85% of the total population lives in the rural areas, the government of Cambodia is placing great emphasis on the development of local energy resources to raise the living standard of the rural population.

Keywords: Renewable Energy, Sustainability and Security, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction, Living Standard, Emissions and Climate Change.

1. COUNTRY OUTLOOK

Climate change has been taking place throughout the history of the earth. It is only recently that mankind has begun to exert its own influence. As we mention on global climate change are global warming and greenhouse gases. Since the industrial revolution 200 years ago, the amount of greenhouse gases in the air has been increasing. It is thought that the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases from the increased use of fossil fuels are responsible for some of the warming of the global climate during the 20th century [1].

Renewable energy is an energy created by sources that are not used up or depleted. Most forms of renewable energy do not produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful gases. Using more renewable energy sources would reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and minimize global warming. One way to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases is to become more energy efficient, so that less energy needs to be produced. An increase in the use of renewable energy supplies, instead of fossil fuels, will also reduce greenhouse emissions. Sources of renewable energy include hydroelectric power, wind power, biomass, biogas, geothermal energy; and solar power [1-3].

Cambodia’s energy sector has a crucial role to play in the country’s continued development. However the current situation in Cambodia with respect to energy costs, service provision, sustainability and security may prove to be a barrier to development. Cambodia has no proven fossil fuel reserves, and is almost completely dependent on fully-imported diesel fuel for electricity production and other power applications. The demand for fossil fuel imports in Cambodia grew by an average 33% per year from 1997 to 2000 and there is no sign of the trend slowing [7]. Meanwhile the international price of oil has risen to record levels over $55 per barrel which is a 57% rise for the year to March 2005. This situation has serious implications for a country like Cambodia with limited reserves of foreign currencies and no reserve stocks of fossil fuels to insulate domestic consumers from price shocks. Consequently Cambodians face some of the highest energy prices in the world, and an insecure supply. The impacts of this are widespread and appear to hinder development in terms of economic growth and poverty reduction [6].

Cambodia has few conventional energy sources available within the country, and even fewer currently exploitable. Wood accounts for more than 80% of total national energy consumption [7]. Fuel wood is by far the main source of energy available to the general population, but plays an even greater role for the poor and rural people. Yet, the main source of fuel wood in Cambodia, that is, natural forests, have been severely degraded due to widespread logging and forest land conversion for various purposes over the past twenty years [4].

2. COUNTRY ENERGY AND BEYOND

Since about 80-85% of the total population lives in the rural areas, the government of Cambodia is placing great emphasis on the development of local energy resources to raise the living standard of the rural population. Renewable energy sources, especially solar energy, have been identified as important sources of local energy, not only to raise the living conditions of rural villages, but also to develop local industries to stimulate economic growth. Today Cambodia has the lowest per capita consumption of electricity in Asia and this is about 50 kWh per person per year. Due to a lack of adequate infrastructure and regulation, rural people have to pay very high prices for electricity that is supplied by private diesel set operators. For many households, energy is only accessed by owning batteries which are recharged at privately owned battery charging stations. At present, the electricity supply in Cambodia is fragmented into 24 isolated power systems which are centered in provincial towns and cities. All are fully reliant on diesel power plants. There is virtually no transmission link between load centers. Peak demand in 2003 was 120 MW in Phnom Penh and 40 MW for all other provincial centers [5].

Accurate industry data is not available, but it is estimated that the country’s public and private grid systems have a total installed generating capacity of around 200 MW, of which about 65% is in Phnom Penh. However, this figure does not include the large number of stand-by generators installed by most medium to large businesses. Nor does it count the hundreds of small diesel generators operated by private battery charging services in mainly rural areas. The total installed power capacity may therefore be closer to 300 MW, which is still very small compared to other countries in the region [5].

This is shown that the energy in Cambodia nowadays is still poor because a part of energy import from neighboring countries; moreover, using renewable energy is not enough, especially solar power. In Cambodia, installing solar energy has been done throughout the country, but mostly in Battambang Province. Actually using solar energy has been promoted and accessed by the Government of Cambodia join hand together with International Cooperation to Renewable [7].

The installed solar electric power capacity in Cambodia is currently between 200 and 250 kilowatt peak (kWp). The estimated installed capacity provided by Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MIME) is set out in the table below. Telephone repeater stations represent the bulk of the installed capacity, followed by non-governmental training centers and the government-sponsored solar electrification of new bridge [5].

The PV industry is still in the early stages of its development in Cambodia; however, many barriers are slowly being overcome. The MIME has trained 50 people in PV operation and troubleshooting with a view to ensuring an internal operation and maintenance capability [5]. The program resulted in the development of a type of charge controller, 40 of which have been installed in street lights on a rural bridge as part of a demonstration project funded by the Government [2].

3. CURRENT STATUS ON RESEARCH and DEVELOPMENT

3.1 Current Research for Sustainable Energy Development and Promotion

The effectiveness of small scale biogas has been demonstrated in Cambodia by a number of different projects. The use of animal wastes to generate high quality gas for cooking has significant economic, health, social and environmental benefits for poor rural households. Biogas-digester technology had been taken in Cambodia in 1989 by CWS and AFC organization. Bio digesters type DIMBANDONG was installed in cow farm at Tamov and pig’s farm. In 1990, LWS organization projects were installed in some provinces but it did not cussed in farmer communities by [10]:

  • High cost (500$),
  • Need to have many cattle and pigs to provide manure for produce gas,
  • Farmers lack of possibility to install and maintenance and,
  • Produced gas need to have using group on its potential.

LWS organization had installed bio digesters in Baty district Takeo province follow by Philippines pattern in 1991. This bio digester has issues such as waste manure inlet and waste outlet. In 992, FAO had taken bio digester with plastic in Cambodia. In period of only one year this Biogas-digester’s type were installed more than 500 in some provinces of Cambodia [10].

Some organizations, such as LWS, CWS, PADEK, had joined to propagate this digestion. After that has only LWS organization continue to propagate in Takeo. In 1997 UTA organization located in RUA and its developing researching and propagating on biogas were reinforcement by integrated with special program for food of FAO Cambodia and SCAL Cambodia. Now farmer live in region where lag of fire wood for cooking for example in Tnoutae Samrong district Takao province were very interested to accept this technology. This biogas-digester type Balloon plant is easy for the farmers and low price, i.e., not exceed 50$ [10].

3.2 Current Policy for Sustainable Energy Development and Promotion

Cambodian biomass consumption has been the lowest one of bordered countries. Therefore, the Current Policy for New Energy Development and Promotion are going to be established in the future. However, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has considered on the implementation of the National Rural and Renewable Electricity Policy including six points [8]:

  • To endeavor to provide access to reliable, safe and environmentally clean electricity services to rural areas, at an affordable cost to the national community;
  • To act as a market enabler and encourage private sector participation in providing rural renewable electricity services;
  • To provide effective legal and regulatory framework for enabling access to reliable, safe and clean electricity services to rural areas, at an affordable cost to the national community;
  • To develop encourage the most efficient systems for production generation, transmission and distribution of electricity from clean and renewable energy sources, and to enable which permit the development of a sustainable rational electricity tariff policies through promotion of allowing differentiated tariffs bases on cost recovery principles;
  • To promote renewable electricity systems for rural applications, as part of least cost to the national community of a national portfolio of grid and off-grid technologies, provided they are the least-cost option for the national communities; and including renewable electricity systems for rural applications; and
  • To ensure adequate resources and appropriate institutional mechanisms to empower the poor, particularly those in rural areas.

Relatively high investment capital and maintenance cost is a major impediment to the adoption both of plastic and brick and cement firm biogas in the rural areas for poor farmers. Considering the long term benefit of plastic film bio digester technology both economically and environmentally, it may be necessary to introduce some financial incentives to promote its penetration and diffusion into rural areas. The government agencies such as Department of Environment, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Agriculture Extension Center, and even private institutions could play a leading role by the issue of loans and subsidies. This could be implemented under government regulations and policies.

Research, development and demonstration are essential activities to overcome the technical obstacles and be well abreast of development in biogas technology. Government support will also be needed. Major research areas will include:

  • Development and use of local materials for the construction of biogas plant;
  • Improved fermentation process to obtain high biogas generation;
  • Design specification for different plant sizes (plant construction techniques, effluent distribution, operation problems, gas appliances);
  • Development of effective and cheap appliances;
  • Socio-cultural factors that affect the adoption of biogas technology;
  • Evaluation of the technology;
  • Intensification of networking activities in rural areas for poor farmers to understand how to protect the environment for development of suitable agriculture.

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) in its pursuit to reduce poverty, improve the standard of living and foster economic development of its population, particularly in the rural areas, takes cognizance of need to meet the basic needs of its marginalized rural people. Creating access to electricity infrastructure and services in rural areas is an integral part of this endeavor. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) recognizes that the Rural and Renewable Energy Policy is not an end itself, but is an instrument that is in consonance with an overall integrated rural development framework. Furthermore, the Rural Renewable Electricity Policy is an integral part of the Government’s overall agenda for the Energy Sector including Rural Electrification and the Government’s rural development plan. The Rural Renewable Electricity Policy lays down the policy intentions for developing the requisite infrastructure for providing renewable electricity services in rural areas. Moreover, eighty five percent of the population of Cambodia is living in rural areas and mostly do not have access to electricity. The provision of rural energy is a key factor in the rehabilitation agricultural and small scale industrial development in rural areas. The Government’s power sector objectives are consistent with its overall policy for rural electrification which includes the following [8]:

  • Endeavor to provide access to reliable, safe and environmentally clean electricity services to rural areas at an affordable cost to the national community.
  • Act as a market enabler and encourage private sector participation in providing rural renewable electricity services.
  • Provide effective legal and regulatory framework for enabling access to reliable, safe and clean electricity services to rural areas, at an affordable cost to the national community.
  • Encourage the most efficient systems for generation, transmission and distribution of electricity from clean and renewable energy sources, to enable a rational electricity tariff policy through promotion of differentiated tariffs based on cost recovery principle.
  • Promote renewable electricity systems for rural applications, as part of a national portfolio of off-grid technologies, provided they are the least-cost option for the national communities.
  • Ensure adequate resources and appropriate institutional mechanisms to empower the poor, particularly those in rural areas.
  • Describes the current state of understanding of the climate system and provide estimates of its projected future evolution and their uncertainties.
  • An increasing body of observations gives collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system by improved analysis of data set, more rigorous evaluation of their quality, and comparisons any data from different sources.

The Royal Government of Cambodia formulated an energy sector development policy[9]:

  • Provide an adequate supply of energy throughout Cambodia at reasonable and affordable price.
  • Ensure a reliable, secure electricity supply at prices, which facilitate investment in Cambodia and development of the national economy.
  • Encourage exploration and environmentally and socially acceptable development of energy resources needed for supply to all sectors of the Cambodian economy.

Eighty five percent of the population of Cambodia is lived in rural areas and mostly do not have access to electricity. The provision of rural energy is a key factor in the rehabilitation and development of Cambodia, especially for the improvement of living standards, and for agricultural and small scale industrial development in rural areas. The Government's power sector objectives are consistent with its overall policy for RE which includes the following [9]:

  • RE forms an integral part of Government's wider rural development and poverty alleviation agenda.
  • RE contributes to rural development through supporting livelihoods, income-generating opportunities and improvement of social welfare, education and health.
  • RE is to reduce regional inequalities in access to electricity supply.
  • RE should provide all communities with the basic electricity service needed to satisfy the demand for lighting and productive applications.
  • Within the electrified area, RE should aim to connect as many households as possible to the extent of affordability.

4. Conclusion

4.1 Future Strategy for Future Sustainable Energy Development and Promotion

In order to meet an expected growth electricity demand in Cambodia, the process of revising and establishing future Strategy for New Energy Development and Promotion which needs to provide the solid basis of country for further development. According to the previously research of biomass energy of Cambodian as well as the world’s biomass energy, the development of a long-term power sector strategy for Cambodia to meet the growing demand for electric power could be established included :

  • Encouraging both private and public generator to provide an adequate energy supply throughout Cambodia at reasonable and affordable price,
  • Establishing the regulatory framework of the power sector
  • Encouraging the investment in the power sector providing efficient use of energy and to minimize detrimental environmental effects resulting from energy supply and consumption,
  • Ensuring a reliable, secure electricity supply at prices, which facilitate investment in Cambodia
  • Encouraging exploration and environmentally and socially acceptable development of energy resources needed for supply to all sectors of the Cambodian economy,
  • Encouraging the participatory private sector generators,

Eighty five percent of the Cambodian population still lives in the rural areas, and less than 10% of the rural households have access to electrical grid-quality. Creating access to reliable electricity services in rural areas, at an affordable cost to the national communities, is thus an integral part of the governmental agenda of economic development and social uplift. Electricity is very important for the improvement of living standards, for agricultural and small scale industrial development in rural areas. As a reflection of this commitment, the RGC has set the goal of raising the access rate to the reliable, grid quality and affordable prices electricity services to 70% of the rural households by the year 2030. Rural Electrification comprises the provision of electricity services needed in rural areas for the basic household demand (lighting, television and fan) and the basic village demand (public lighting and electricity supply to community centers, health clinics, schools) and local businesses; its main objectives being the provision of electricity to a certain proportion of villages for more balanced development in each province by the techniques with the highest cost/benefit ratio. It is acknowledged that the long-term goal may be exceeded the possibility of electricity supply over the next 30 years. In the medium term, there is a need to develop a target for a 10-year target (2010) of 25% of households connected. The following criteria are proposed for the composition of the program, [9]:

  • The composition should provide the least-cost, economically viable form of RE.
  • The composition should be matched to the most appropriate technology.
  • Areas with the best potential for economic development and higher levels of income are likely to be the most attractive. However, the Government should extend the electrification to as many villages as possible in order to achieve its broader development objectives.
  • The composition should not be constrained by institutional structures.
  • The program must be flexible to take account of changing technology and circumstances.

Moreover, the strategy and ten year program for rural electrification will incorporate:

  • Grid extension from the existing,
  • Cross-border power supplies from neighboring countries,
  • Rehabilitation of existing isolated grid systems in provincial towns
  • Creation of new isolated grid systems
  • Renewable energy such: solar, hydro (mini, micro), wind, biomass, biogas etc.
  • Provision of batteries-based and stand-alone systems for dispersed remote customers.

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has established a goal of increasing access to the grid for the rural population to 70% by 2030, assisted by the World Bank’s Rural Electrification and Transmission (RET) project. An important component is the promotion of technologies to those rural areas which are not likely to be covered by grid extension in the near future. The following subsections provide extracts and descriptions of the project. The primary objective is to initiate a process to maximize the use of local natural resources to provide least-cost options in the power sector, and thus create equitable access to electricity services and associated opportunities for increased social welfare, education, health and economic uplift through income-generating activities. This would be achieved by the following [2]:

  • Expanding electricity access to the rural population through development of appropriate program and action plans to promote renewable energy.
  • Promoting the participation of private entrepreneurs so as to provide efficient and cost-effective services.
  • Facilitating systematic market and institutional development in the renewable energy sector by creating a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework.
  • Developing appropriate tariff policies and institute a rational tariff regime.
  • Promoting rural electrification (RE) technologies on-grid mode.
  • Building the capacity of the rural poor by creating economic opportunities, increasing standards of living and involving them in planning, operation, maintenance and management of programs providing those services.

Furthermore, to achieve the policy the strategy:

  • Shall be designed within framework of overall electricity policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), this is, renewable energy shall form part of the overall energy mix in such a way that it complements the other fuel resources.
  • A set of comprehensive studies shall be conducted to identify policy and institutional barriers that are likely to restrict the private sector participation in providing renewable electricity services.
  • An effective legal and regulatory system—within the framework of Cambodia’s national power policy and regulatory authority—shall be put in place to ensure proper management of the rural electrification program.
  • It shall be ensured that scientific methods are used in arriving at differentiated tariffs, and all components are considered (Operation & market costs, depreciation of assets, taxes, return on capital, transaction costs)
  • Potential for different renewable energy sources such as small hydro and solar in different parts of the country shall be mapped through extensive assessment and feasibility studies.

5. REFERENCES

[1] Joe Buchdahl, Rebecca Twigg & Laura Cresswell (2002) Global Warming, Fact Sheet Series for Key Stages 2 & 3, http://www.ace.mmu.ac.uk/.

[2] Ronald Steenblik, R., et al., (2005) OECD Trade Directorate, “Liberalization of Trade in Renewable-Energy Products and Associated Goods: Charcoal, Solar Photovoltaic Systems, and Wind Pumps and Turbines, OECD Trade and Environment Working Paper No. 2005-07, http://www.oecd.orgdataoecd03935842415.

[3] Anthony Derrick, Catherine Francis and Varis Bokalders (1991) Solar Photovoltaic Products, A Guide for development workers”, Intermediate Technology Publications in association with the Swedish Missionary Council and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

[4] ADB (2000a), Cambodia Forest Concession Review, ADB, Manila.

[5] The Cambodia Report (2005) An overview of the energy systems, renewable energy options, initiatives, actors and opportunities in Cambodia, August 2005,http://www.bcse.org.audocsInternationalBCSE%20Cambodia%20Final%20V2.

[6] The Economist (2005a) Stirrings in the Corn Field, May 14th 2005, p.59-61.

[7] Sat Samy (2004) Renewable Energy Promotion and Development in Cambodia, Country Report, April 2004, Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy Phnom Penh, Cambodia, http://www.recambodia.com.

[8] National Policy (2003) on Renewable Energy-Based Rural Electrification”, Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, Phnom Penh, 22 May 2003, Chapter I, http://www.recambodia.com

[9] Cambodia Energy Sector Strategy, http://www.recambodia.com

[10] TOCH Sovanna and Ches Sophy (2006). Biogas and Bio-Digester Technology, Survey Report.