Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bioenergy for rural electrification study in Cambodia

With financial support from the ESMAP program of the World Bank through
the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) Action Program Fund -
GAPFund, IIEC is working with local partners in Cambodia to assess the
feasibility of a new sustainable business model of biofuel-based
off-grid rural electrification. I

IEC also will assess the use of biofuels as substitute fuels for diesel
in conventional generation. In Cambodia, about 85% of 15 million people
(in 2.7 million households) still live in rural areas, and less than 10%
of which have access to quality electricity supply. Most rural people
rely on electricity services from small stand-alone grids operated by
Rural Electricity Enterprises (REEs) and rechargeable car-batteries.

It is estimated that there are more than 600 REEs and 1,500 commercial
battery-charging stations throughout Cambodia. These businesses are
operated by local entrepreneurs using diesel generator sets and the
grids are constructed from materials locally available. Considerable
system losses due to poor design and construction in combination with
rising diesel oil price make poor rural communities in Cambodia face
some of the highest electricity costs in the world at an average of more
than US$0.50 per kWh.

IIEC aims to complete the assessment in mid-2007 and recommendations on
sustainable biofuel-based rural electrification solutions will be
submitted to the Cambodian government. The business models will support
community development activities associated with biofuel production,
e.g. from Jatropha, and utilization.

The project was officially commenced with an inception meeting organized
in Phnom Penh on December 18th, 2006. The meeting was attended by
representatives of key government agencies, NGOs, REEs, and academic
institutes. The inception meeting also formed a project advisory
committee to support the project implementation and ensure that the
outcomes will suit well with the Cambodian context.

For more information, please visit the project website at or contact Sommai Phon-Amnuaisuk at


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