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Major biomass power plant on track to go online by July

Article Republished By Javier Troconis

A major rice husk biomass power plant in southeastern Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district is still on track to be completed and start operations by July, a press release confirmed on May 5.

Designed to contribute to the Kingdom’s emission reduction efforts, the plant broke ground on December 8, in collaboration with Singapore-based Berkeley Energy Commercial and Industrial Solutions (BECIS), with capital investment of $5.8 million.

Located in Prek Eng commune’s Roboh Angkanh village, the facility will reportedly use waste paddy husk sourced from nearby Prey Veng province to the east, and initially supply energy to the Heineken Cambodia brewery.

The plant aims for “100 per cent renewable thermal energy, 60 per cent reduction on CO2 emissions in production … saving 17,000 tonnes of CO2 per year”, the May 5 joint press release issued by BECIS and the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) said without providing a concrete timeframe.

However, Heineken Cambodia corporate affairs director Anne Ollivier previously described the power plant as a major step in the company’s ambition to reach net zero emissions in production by 2030.

The release added that “BECIS’ first biomass power plant project developed for Heineken in Cambodia [was] officially admitted as a Qualified Investment Project [QIP]” by the CDC on February 6.

“When completed, this project will be Cambodia’s largest biomass power plant. The addition of this new factory will add more than 9MW of installed capacity to Cambodia’s existing plants.”

BECIS Cambodia country manager Neil Allen said in the release: “Cambodia is a key market for BECIS in the Mekong region. Our presence in the Kingdom demonstrates our ability to serve our customers regionally in all markets in Southeast Asia.

“Our go-to-market strategy has been highly facilitated by our partnership with Confluences. Their assistance has been critical at every step of our implementation in the Kingdom. The QIP status is another critical milestone in this project. This will enable us to expand locally both our team and services and be positioned as the go-to energy solutions long-term partner in Cambodia.

French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Cambodia chairman Soreasmey Ke Bin said in the release: “The CDC decision to grant BECIS biomass project the QIP status demonstrates sustainability has become key to ensure Cambodia’s competitiveness in global markets.

“In the context of a fast-developing country, this biomass power plant and BECIS’ expertise will contribute to building a greener ground for our next generations in Cambodia.

“Not only are we honoured as a company to have been chosen by a SEA regional leader to support his development and operations in the Kingdom, but also, we believe the implementation of more projects with ‘BECIS inside’ will impact Cambodia extremely positively.”

CDC secretary-general Sok Chenda Sophea added that “with a mandate to promote a responsible private sector in the Kingdom of Cambodia, and in line with country’s commitment to sustainable development, the CDC is particularly keen to encourage the development of green projects.

“Biomass plants offer a great potential to reduce fuel consumption in the Kingdom. The BECIS-Heineken biomass factory is a great milestone and a perfect example in the use of renewable energy.

“More similar projects will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to the climate change response which Cambodia promotes actively,” he was quoted as saying.

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