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New dual-fuel plant to boost electricity in Cambodia

Finnish energy technology group Wärtsilä is to supply a dozen dual-fuel engines that will deliver 200 MW of electricity to a new power plant in Cambodia.

The plant in Kandal Province near the capital Phnom Penh is designed to help meet the country’s rapidly growing energy demand, and because of Cambodia’s urgent need to boost electricity supply, it will be delivered on a fast track basis and is due to be fully operational next year.

The order comes from China’s CGGC-UN Power Co, which as the main EPC contractor is building the plant for Cambodia’s state-owned utility Electricite du Cambodge (EDC). It is CGGC-UN Power Co’s first thermal plant in Cambodia.

Wärtsilä said that the 12 dual-fuel engines will provide fast-starting and balancing flexibility to improve grid stability and reliability, and also allow increased levels of renewables, particularly solar, to be eventually integrated into the system.

The engines will initially run on heavy fuel oil but will switch to liquefied natural gas when the local infrastructure is available.

EDC managing director Keo Rottanak said that Cambodia’s “rapid economic growth and tariff reduction policy has increased the demand for electricity, which when combined with the shortage of water for hydropower generation, has led to the supply being unable to cope”.

“The new power plant is, therefore, urgently needed and Wärtsilä’s ability to meet this need is critical to the success of this project.”

Wärtsilä’s business development manager for Cambodia, Thanh Pham, said that “fuel and operational flexibility are key factors in delivering the right solution for this project”, adding that the engines “have the flexibility to operate at lower load during the rainy season, and the flexibility to integrate renewables into the system in the future, although the immediate use will be to provide the required baseload power”.

Cambodia has considerable potential for utilising solar energy and the project fits with Wärtsilä’s strategic vision to become an enabler of a 100-per cent-renewable future for countries.