Cambodia to boost clean energy use—but coal plants planned too

A Cambodian soldier talks on a phone from his position at the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple on the border between Thailand and Cambodia, February 9, 2011. Image: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj via Thomson Reuters Foundation Cambodia will push ahead with plans to use hydropower and coal to electrify the entire country by 2020, but solar energy will play some role, especially in remote areas, an energy ministry official said on Wednesday. The Southeast Asian nation has electrified rapidly since 2000, when only 16 per cent of the population had access to power, according to the World Bank. Today, 87 per cent of villages and 73 per cent of households are connected to the grid, said Victor Jona, a spokesman for the department of energy at the Ministry of Mines and Energy. Hydropower accounts for 40 per cent of the mix, while coal makes up 36 per cent, with more plants being built, he said. Power imports from neighbouring countries contribute almost the entire remainder, with renewables such as solar accounting for less than 1 per cent, he said. But Jona said the government has plans to develop more clean energy, especially in hard-to-reach communities. “We hope that solar home systems will […]

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