ADB Approves $134.5 Million in Loan/Grant for Cambodia’s Power Supply

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $127.8 million loan to support the construction of transmission lines and substations to help provide Phnom Penh and three provinces with reliable electricity supply. Photo: ADB.

This will involve the country’s first utility-scale battery energy-storage system



 PHNOM PENH--The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $127.8 million loan to support the construction of transmission lines and substations to help provide Phnom Penh and three provinces with reliable electricity supply.



According to an ADB's press release issued on Sept 11, the project will help the Electricite du Cambodge—Cambodia's national electricity utility—strengthen its transmission infrastructure by financing the construction of four 115–230 kilovolt transmission lines and 10 substations in Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang and Takeo provinces.



The Grid Reinforcement Project will also pilot the first utility-scale battery energy-storage system in Cambodia, which will be funded through a $6.7 million grant.



“The battery energy-storage system will showcase how large-scale deployment of innovative technology applications can be used to operate Cambodia’s grid in the future and generate more renewable power," said ADB Country Director Sunniya Durrani-Jamal, according to the press release.



This project, along with ADB’s ongoing assistance to Cambodia in power system planning, shows that adequate, reliable, and environmentally sustainable power supply can be provided at a reasonable cost to support equitable development, she added. 



According to ADB, this battery energy-storage system is capable of storing 16 megawatt-hours of electricity and providing services to help with renewable energy integration, transmission congestion relief, and balancing of supply and demand. The project is located near the 100-megawatt National Solar Park supported by ADB and will come with on-the-job training.



“The project, by financing and constructing much-needed transmission infrastructure for sustainable electricity supply, will boost Cambodia’s economic productivity, competitiveness and diversification, create jobs, and support the country’s recovery from the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic,” said ADB Energy Specialist Daniela Schmidt.



“The project will create 1,300 direct jobs in construction, with spillover effects that will boost household incomes,” she said. “It will also support the Electricite du Cambodge’s effort to promote inclusion and gender equality at the workplace and encourage women’s participation in the energy sector.” The project will come with on-the-job training, the ADB press release read.  



Since 1994, ADB has awarded nearly $200 million in loans and grants to Cambodia’s energy sector and provided $6 million in technical assistance, according to the press release. Last year, ADB committed $7.64 million to support the construction of the solar park through public–private partnerships, along with a roadmap for solar energy development.



The grant for this project will come from two funds administered by ADB: $4.7 million from the Strategic Climate Fund under the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program in Low-Income Countries, and $2 million from the Clean Energy Fund under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility.



According to the ADB press release, the Cambodian government plans to increase solar photovoltaic generation capacity from 155 megawatts last year to 415 megawatts by 2022.



Economic growth in Cambodia, which has averaged 7.1 percent annually from 2010 to 2019, is projected to contract by 5.5 percent this year, potentially pushing 1.3 million more people into poverty due to the pandemic, the press release said, adding that the government is implementing an assistance program to mitigate its impact.


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