Your excellency Say Samal, Minister of Environment

Your Excellency Tin Ponlok, Secretary of State, Ministry of Environment

Your Excellency Vong Sandab, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance

Your Excellency Chan Somaly, Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Environment

Your Excellency Ngan Phirun, Deputy Provincial Governor of Siem Reap Province

Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen:

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A very good afternoon. It is my great honour to join H.E. Say Samal, Minister of Environment, in presiding over this opening ceremony on behalf of UNDP. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the participation of officials from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Economy and Finance, and Siem Reap Province; as well as park rangers and communities in this ceremony.

On behalf of UNDP, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Ministry of Environment for all their efforts in ensuring that this solar installation will benefit the Kulen National Park Authority protecting the environment and biodiversity.  This includes the research and protection of Orchid and other endangered plants, while providing reliable electricity supply for its operation.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

Today we are demonstrating by way of a pilot some steps that can be practically taken in the direction of attaining universal energy access, and contributing to Cambodia SDG 7 on access to clean and affordable energy. I understand that the orchid research centre was relying on electricity from a diesel generator, while rangers and communities living nearby depend on car batteries to meet their lighting needs.

Cambodia’s achievements in rural electrification offer a remarkable story from the Asia Pacific region. From a 6.6% electrification rate in 2000, the country reached an impressive 97.3% by 2020. Of the 14,168 villages, just over 200+ villages were fortunate to be electrified as planned by 2020 even though classified as “hard to reach”. With the onset of more rapid climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic globally, the winds are changing in the clean energy space at a faster rate! It is clear that green recovery provides a least cost option for Cambodia. Power demand is projected to increase from 2,916 Megawatt (MW) of installed capacity of power generation in 2020, to somewhere in between 12,000 to 14,000 MW by 2040.

A recent report of the International Energy Agency (IEA) emphasises that solar offers the lowest cost electricity when compared to new coal- or gas-fired power plants. This is corroborated by a NCSD study conducted with the support of UNDP. Solar-based electricity is the least costly option for Cambodia – at an all-inclusive rate of US$3.9 cents/kWh. Cambodia has demonstrated that it is a fast mover in embracing renewables, increasing renewable generation from a 10MW pilot in 2017 to 265MW by the end of 2020. Cambodia is expected to have a total of 415MW of solar-based electricity on its grid by 2023. We would like to appreciate the leadership of the Royal Government of Cambodia in this effort. UNDP Cambodia will continue to support the Government, specifically the MEF and MoE, to create an enabling environment for inclusive energy development, and access to affordable and clean energy in the future. This will contribute towards meeting Cambodia’s SDG targets by 2030.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

We trust the park authorities will productively use the power from this solar system, including for much needed lighting and recharge of batteries for safeguarding the forest, biodiversity conservation, and wildlife protection at night from poachers. This solar system  will also contribute to reducing CO2 emissions in this sector. We hope efforts and pilots, such as this, will pave the way for an increased share of renewables in Cambodia’s energy mix vision. On behalf of UNDP, I sincerely thank you once again for playing a vital role on universal electrification.

Thank you, and wish you all the best and a nice evening!

Relevant Reports: 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDINGS - Accelerating Low-carbon Development in Cambodia

Energy Efficiency:The Key Pillar of Cambodia’s Energy Future

Harnessing the Solar Energy Potential in Cambodia

CAMBODIA: De-risking Renewable Energy Investment

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