ADB and EDC Sign Mandate to Further Cambodia’s Renewable Energy Goals

ADB to support development of 2GW of solar power and study opportunities for increased solar power battery capacity
Workers clean solar panels at a factory in Kampot in 2021. Kiripost/stringer
Workers clean solar panels at a factory in Kampot in 2021. Kiripost/stringer

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a transaction advisory services mandate with state-owned utility firm Électricité du Cambodge (EDC) to aid the development of two gigawatts (GW) of solar power, to help Cambodia meet its carbon neutrality goal by 2050.

According to ADB, the solar power development is in line with Cambodia’s strategy to meet its growing energy demand to maximise the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Key to this strategy is the harnessing of Cambodia’s “abundant solar resources”, whose share in the installed capacity increased from “practically nothing” in 2016 to about 12 percent at the end of 2021.

Head of ADB’s office of public-private partnership, F.Cleo Kawawaki, said the programme will be the nation’s “most ambitious yet” in the renewable sector, noting it will lower electricity costs and improve energy security by taking advantage of domestic resources.

“We hope to contribute to this effort by supporting a well-planned pipeline for transparent bids that attract active competition to optimise the efficiency, innovation, and capital of the private sector to benefit the people of Cambodia,” he added.

Under the mandate, ADB will help EDC conduct a nationwide study on opportunities for additional solar power capacity in combination with a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), to be implemented from this year through to 2030.

The development partner is also expected to assist EDC to bid out a 100-megawatt pilot project identified under the study to the private sector, which would build, finance, and operate the project.

“The pilot project is expected to mobilise up to $100 million of investments and serve as a model to replicate fast and efficient procurement of affordable renewable power in Cambodia,” ADB said in a statement today.

It noted Cambodia’s new Power Development Masterplan, which recognises the potential to further expand the capacity of solar photovoltaic, is expected to exceed three GW in 2040. As the share of solar increases, there is a need to improve grid stability through the adoption of BESS.

“ADB is pleased to support a green energy transition in Cambodia that will promote clean, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth through policy reform in energy planning and governance, improving grid stability, and energy efficiency,” said ADB country director for Cambodia Jyotsana Varma.

The mandate builds on ADB’s earlier support to Cambodia’s solar sector, including through the country’s first National Solar Park located in Kampong Chhnang, which will generate up to 100 MW of solar power.

The programme will also build on BESS projects implemented by EDC with technical and financial assistance provided by ADB.