Japanese joint venture focused on renewables
Two Japanese renewable energy producers, Aura Green Energy Co and solar panel system provider WWB Corp have teamed up to build a hybrid power plant generation business in the Kingdom by next year, aiming to secure a stable power supply, Japan News Agency (NNA) reported on Monday.
As fuel, the joint venture will use solar panels – produced by WWB Corp in Vietnam – along with rice husks supplied from a rice mill of Angkor Kasekam Roongroeung Co Ltd, a major local rice producer in Kandal province, an Aura Green Energy spokeswoman told NNA.
The project will reportedly cost 400 million yen ($3.8 million), with a total output capacity of 1.5MW. The plant will supply power to the rice mill, with any surplus power to be sold to the national grid or a local power company, she said.
Cambodia Rice Federation secretary-general Lun Yeng told The Post on Tuesday that sustainable electricity plays an important role in the rice sector to boost production and reduce cost.
However, the government does not encourage investment in solar power that is not connected to the national grid as it costs more than if purchased from the state, he said.
“It’d be great if the solar power plant has enough electricity capacity to power the rice mill plant. Costs will be low,” said Yeng.
Victor Jona, the director-general of the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s General Department of Energy, told The Post that the private sector should use power purchased from Cambodia’s state-run electricity supplier Electricite du Cambodge, which comes from the national grid and is low cost.
“If there is proper supply and there is a sustained supply of electricity, use it . . . No need to invest,” he said.
In February, the two Japanese companies established a 50-50 joint venture with a capital investment of $5,000 in the Kingdom for the business, said the spokeswoman.
The project is partly subsidised by the Japanese government, at about 110 million yen, under the Joint Crediting Mechanism, a system to cooperate with developing countries for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in which the result of reduction is assessed as contribution by both partner countries and Japan.
Aura Green Energy estimates that the project will contribute to cutting 1,316 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per annum from the biomass power generation and 565 tonnes from solar power, she said.
The Kingdom’s electricity demand is growing at an average of 16-18 per cent annually, though it soared 25 per cent last year from 2018, Jona said, adding that Cambodia can currently cover about 70-80 per cent of total domestic electricity consumption.
The Kingdom produced 11.261GWh of electricity last year, up 21 per cent from 2018’s 9.427GWh, said a ministry report.