Cambodia to expand its grid, thanks to $127.8 million ADB aid


In Cambodia, utility Electricite du Cambodge, will be leveraging a $127.8 million loan secured from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to expand its grid.

The utility will use the loan to construct four 115–230 kilovolt transmission lines and 10 substations.

The project will ensure reliable and stable energy supply to consumers in Phnom Penh and Kampong Chhang, Kamong Cham, and Takeo provinces.

Electricite du Cambodge will also use the loan to deploy the country’s first utility-scale battery energy storage project.

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The energy storage system will be located near the ADB-supported 100MW National Solar Park.

The 16MWh battery storage pilot will be funded by a $6.7 million grant. The amount includes $4.7 million from the Strategic Climate Fund under the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Programme in Low-Income Countries and $2 million from the Clean Energy Fund under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility.

The battery will help with renewable energy integration, transmission congestion relief, and balancing of supply and demand, among others.

The project is expected to help Cambodia achieve its target of increasing solar photovoltaic generation capacity to 415MW by 2022, up from 155MW in 2019.

The government has set energy sector development as a national priority, as a more robust electricity supply will boost economic productivity and quality of life.

While Cambodia has made significant progress in expanding lower-cost power generation in the past 15 years, its existing transmission infrastructure is reaching capacity and needs to be expanded and reinforced to avoid supply interruptions.

ADB country director for Cambodia Sunniya Durrani-Jamal, said: “The Grid Reinforcement 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.

“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.”

ADB Energy Specialist Daniela Schmidt, adds: “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.

“The project will create 1,300 direct jobs in construction, with spillover effects that will boost household incomes. 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.”

Since 1994, ADB has awarded nearly $200 million in loans and grants to Cambodia’s energy sector and provided $6 million in technical assistance.