Cambodia counts the cost of its push to expand coal-fired power

Soaring coal prices and opposition from foreign business stoke doubts over plan.

The potential cost of Cambodia’s push to boost its reliance on coal power has increased sharply since it began to ramp up two years ago, prompting calls for the government to rethink and promote renewable energy.

As world leaders, banks and companies push to cut carbon emissions by shifting toward cleaner power, Cambodia has been moving in the opposite direction, with plans for new generation capacity and imports that will take fossil fuels from 56% of its grid to almost 75% within the next decade.

International companies warned last year they could scale back manufacturing in Cambodia to avoid breaching climate pledges, with potentially damaging consequences for the economy. And in recent weeks the price of thermal coal has soared to a 13-year high, piling on new costs.

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