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Cambodia’s Shift to LNG: Construction of the First Gas-Fired Power Plant

by Surya Narayan
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Cambodia is set to build its first gas-fired power station in Botum Sakor, marking a significant shift towards cleaner energy. This announcement was made by Keo Rattanak, the Minister of Mines and Energy, in an interview before the COP28 (Convention on Climate Change) conference in Dubai.

During the conference running from November 30 to December 12, Rattanak, along with other Cambodian environment ministry officials, will discuss the country’s commitment to sustainable energy.

On November 30, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet will announce the cancellation of the planned 700 MW coal power plant project in Koh Kong. Instead, the country plans to replace it with an 800 MW liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant, expected to be commissioned after 2030, according to Rattanak.

The decision to build the gas-fired plant follows the abandonment of the Botum Sakor coal power project, which was originally scheduled to begin production by the end of 2025. The Royal Group, previously responsible for the coal plant, will now undertake the construction of the gas-fired plant.

While the exact cost of the gas-fired plant is yet to be revealed, Rattanak stated that it will have a total output capacity of 800 MW. To support the transition to gas-fired production, Cambodia is also exploring the construction of a fixed land-based LNG terminal for importing and re-gasifying the fuel.

Cambodia’s move towards gas-fired power generation not only signifies a commitment to cleaner energy but also positions the country as a new regional importer of LNG. Previously, only five ASEAN countries imported LNG, but this year Vietnam and the Philippines also began major imports.

Rattanak highlighted that this shift towards a gas-fired plant aligns with Cambodia’s goal of increasing its share of clean generation capacity from 52% in 2022 to 70% by 2030. The country aims to achieve this by prioritizing renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

The decision to switch to gas-fired power generation follows Cambodia’s announcement two years ago that it would not pursue new coal-fired power projects, with exceptions for those already under construction. The energy ministry is also planning to scale up solar projects and explore electricity imports from neighboring countries to supplement hydropower and meet rising energy demand.

By embracing the construction of the Botum Sakor gas-fired power plant, Cambodia takes a significant step towards achieving its clean energy targets, reducing reliance on coal, and diversifying its energy sources.

Source: Khmer Times

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