Saudi firm eyes investment in Cambodian energy sector


Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power is eyeing to invest $10 billion in 10 countries this year, including Cambodia, its CEO said on Saturday.

ACWA Power – which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment fund – already holds substantial assets in 12 countries and has bid for renewable energy projects in Cambodia, among other countries, Paddy Padmanthan told Reuters at the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi this week.

 

“The company, which builds power and desalination water plants, has 50 per cent of its portfolio in Saudi Arabia, and plans to expand into new markets,” Padmanthan said.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy on Tuesday said the Kingdom welcomed all investors as the government aims to expand the power network to all villages across Cambodia.

“There is great potential here for investments in the energy sector,” ministry spokesman Victor Jona told The Post.

Due to the Kingdom’s rapid pace of development, Electricite du Cambodge announced that it will increase investments in solar energy by 12 per cent by the end of the year, boosting that commitment to over 20 per cent over the next three years.

Last month, Cambodia International Investment and Development Group Co Ltd and China Huadian Hong Kong Co Ltd announced a partnership to build two coal-fired power plants in Preah Sihanouk province.

With a capital investment of around $1 billion, the coal-fired facilities will produce some 700MW of electricity. The power plants are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022 and will become operational by early 2023.

 

Cambodia generates most of its energy from hydropower dams and coal-fired plants, accounting for around 48 per cent and 47 per cent of power production, respectively.

The Kingdom’s energy demand is projected to increase to 2.3GW in 2020 from 1.5GW last year. The government forecasts demand to reach 2.8GW in 2021.

ACWA Power was recently granted three contracts worth a total of $800 million to develop power stations in Azerbaijan and Ethiopia, Padmanthan said.

The $300-million project in Azerbaijan will produce 200MW of power, while two power plants in Ethiopia – worth about $500 million combined – will produce 300MW of energy.

The firm has committed $500 million to develop several renewable energy projects in Indonesia. It is also eyeing to expand its portfolio to include the Moroccan, UAE, Jordanian and Saudi markets.

The sovereign Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia holds a 25 per cent stake in ACWA and has announced it will increase its holdings to 40 per cent.