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80MW wind farm project in Kampot hits EdC price snag

French-owned The Blue Circle’s 80MW wind power investment project in Kampot province has hit an impasse, as its proposed $0.068 per kWh tariff rate for the national grid exceeds what state-run energy supplier Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) is willing to pay, according to a Ministry of Mines and Energy senior official.

The Blue Circle specialises in wind farms and is the largest provider of renewable energy in Southeast Asia. The company currently operates in many ASEAN countries, most notably in Vietnam.

Victor Jona, the director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Energy, told The Post on May 17 that the company has been negotiating a power purchase agreement with EdC for “more than a year”, the last step before reaching a formal agreement to build the wind power station on Bokor Mountain in Kampot.

With electricity rates trimmed each year since 2015 as per government policy, Jona said EdC requires a price under the $0.068 per kWh quoted by the company to provide consumers with more affordable electricity.

“The Blue Circle has yet to begin construction, as the company is still waiting for a successful price negotiation with Electricite du Cambodge,” he said, adding that the firm will submit proposals and technical specifications to the ministry for review to start construction, depending on results of talks with EdC.

While Jona claims that the ministry “strongly supports” renewable and other green energy projects, he stressed that, in the interest of consumers, it also insists on low-cost and stable sources of electricity.

He said two companies have been eyeing wind power projects in the Kingdom, but neither has broken ground on wind turbines or associated infrastructure.

Xinglan Maritime Energy Co Ltd (XME), a joint venture between the local Maritime Group and a Chinese company, is working on a $200 million 100MW onshore wind power project in Mondulkiri province.

Maritime Group chief operating officer Kong Vara previously told The Post that the joint technical team – comprising local and Chinese experts – has been working closely with relevant institutions in their research and to ensure that they meet technical standards and requirements.

They have also liaised to identify potential sites via satellite and GPS surveys in Sen Monorom town and bordering O’Raing district to guarantee the project’s successful implementation, he said.

After completing a feasibility study, he said, the company sent study reports to relevant institutions at the ministry and answered their follow-up queries.

According to Vara, each turbine will generate 2.5MW, requiring 40 to fulfil the project’s 100MW commitment.

Total national electricity capacity reached 2,916.02MW at end-2020, up by 22.92 per cent year-on-year from 2,372.22MW, the Electricity Authority of Cambodia (EAC) reported.

Of that, 1,318.95MW came from non-renewable energy sources – coal and oil – and 1,597.07MW from renewable energy sources – hydropower, solar and biomass, it said.

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