Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cambodia unveils rural electrification master plan

A master plan on rural electrification by renewable energy in Cambodia has been handed over to the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, aiming to help the country reduce its dependence on particular type of fuel, local media reported Tuesday.

The plan, given to the ministry on Monday, was made with the help of Japan's International Cooperation Agency (JICA), according to The Cambodia Press Review.

Sat Samy, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Industry and director of the study, said that the master plan will be used to identify potential energy sources and resources in Cambodia, allowing the country to consider energy production without depending on any particular type of fuel.

The plan also defines the vast rural market, the demands for electricity and investment opportunities in the sector. It also defines various strategic plans for 100 percent rural electrification in all villages by 2020 with a cost of nearly 800 million U.S. dollars in capital investment, the newspaper said.

JICA and officials from the ministry conducted studies in 140, 000 villages in 20 provinces. According to the research, in 2020 people will enjoy access to electricity secured from an expansion of the existing network initiated by the Cambodian government, while rural area communities will generate small-scale, renewable electricity supplies from hydroelectric and solar energy schemes.

Minister of Industry Suy Sem said that the master plan really responds to the government's policy of reducing rural poverty, which determines that by 2020 all villages will have access to mains electricity, and 70 percent of all residents will have access to electricity by 2030.

Inequity of power access, high prices for fuel and environmental pollution are the three main themes that motivated the Cambodian government to propose the study, said Sat Samy.

As of 2006, only 10 percent of people in the entire country have access to the public electricity supply while another 10 percent use electricity supplied by the private sector. A further 40 percent light their homes with batteries.

Source: Xinhua

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