Asian Development Bank provides $127.8M loan for reliable electricity infrastructure in Cambodia

The government's new electricity rates will take effect on July 1. Photo: Aung Khant/The Myanmar Times. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PHNOM PENH, Sep 14, 2020, Khmer Times. The Asian Development Bank (ADB)approved a $127.8 million loan on Friday to expand the construction of transmission lines and substations, aiming to help provide Phnom Penh and three other provinces with a stable and reliable electricity supply, Khmer Times reported.

The project will also pilot the first utility-scale battery energy storage system in the Kingdom funded by a $6.7 million grant, said an ADB statement on Thursday.

“The Grid Reinforcement Project, along with ADB’s ongoing assistance for Cambodia in power system planning, shows that an adequate, reliable and environmentally sustainable power supply can be provided at a reasonable cost to support equitable development,” said ADB Country Director for Cambodia Sunniya Durrani-Jamal in the statement.

“The battery energy storage system will showcase how large-scale deployment of innovative technology can be used to operate Cambodia’s grid in the future and generate more renewable power,” she said.

The statement said 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, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Cham and Takeo province.

The system is capable of storing 16 megawatt-hours of electricity and providing services to help with renewable energy integration, transmission congestion relief and balancing supply and demand, the statement said.

Victor Jona, director-general of energy and spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Energy, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

ADB predicted that Cambodia will suffer 390,000 job losses this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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 pandemic,” said ADB energy specialist Daniela Schmidt in the statement.

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

On July 8, the ADB approved a $250 million loan to help the government respond to the pandemic.

Pech Pisey, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, told Khmer Times yesterday that loaning money from development partners is a good strategy for the country, especially during this time.

“I would like to request and encourage the government to use the loan effectively and efficiently for the purpose of national development,” Pisey said.

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