Cambodia continues to struggle to adopt a balanced approach to its energy needs, according to a report released by the World Energy Council (WEC) today.
The U.N.-accredited body ranked Cambodia 115 out of the 130 countries included in its 2015 Energy Trilemma Index, rising two places since last year’s report.
According to the WEC’s website, the annual index assesses countries “in terms of their likely ability to provide sustainable energy policies through the 3 dimensions of the energy trilemma”—energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability.
The 2015 index ranked Cambodia 121 in terms of addressing its energy security needs, while placing it at 116 for energy equity, a measure of a country’s ability to provide affordable energy sources to its populace.
Heng Pheakdey, chairman of the Enrich Institute, a sustainable development NGO, said yesterday that Cambodia’s reliance on imported fuel was the biggest energy concern.
“The issue of energy security in Cambodia is that we are very much reliant on the import of fuel to produce electricity for domestic use, so this makes Cambodia very vulnerable to the price of oil,” he said.
Mr. Pheakdey added that while government efforts to develop hydropower dams would help strengthen the country’s domestic energy sector, that approach also had drawbacks.
“Generation through hydropower is renewable in a sense, but it also has a negative impact on social economics—the livelihood of the people,” he said, adding that the government should also explore solar and biomass options.
Commerce Ministry spokesman Mao Thora said he was not concerned about Cambodia’s low ranking on the WEC index.
“[The economy] is not affected when we import more fuel,” Mr. Thora said.
“It means we have more factories because factories use electricity,” he added. “Whatever the source of the fuel, when we use more energy, it is a sign of industrial development.”