Changing Light Bulbs Could Save Cambodia Millions Claims UN

In a report released on Tuesday at the UN Climate Change Conference underway in Mexico, the UN Environment Program claimed that replacing incandescent light bulbs with more efficient versions could cut Cambodia’s energy costs by as much as 30 percent.

The report was timed to coincide with both the international climate change conference and the release of the results of “en.lighten,” an initiative for which UNEP partnered with the Global Environment Facility and lighting giants Osram and Philips to document the potential benefits of modernizing fixtures around the world.

The report also said that by replacing older light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps, Cambodia could also reduce carbon emissions by “more than 13 percent” by decreasing reliance on energy from diesel and batteries.

“Among the low hanging fruit in the climate change challenge, a switch to far more efficient lighting must rank as among the lowest,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner was quoted as saying.

According to en.lighten’s country profile, Cambodia consumes an average of roughly 1.6 terawatts, or 1.6 trillion watts of electricity annually while producing 4.4 metric tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. That represents half a terawatt and 0.6 metric tons more than it would produce if all the incandescent bulbs were replaced with CFLs. According to this profile, the switch would save the nation’s citizens roughly $76 million annually.

The Ministries of Energy and Agriculture and the University of Phnom Penh authored a proposal in partnership with UNEP early this year that would help finance the replacement of old bulbs with CFLs according to Tin Ponlok, national coordinator for climate change policy.

“We have heard that the proposal was accepted but we don’t know official details,” said Mr Ponlok.

According to Mr Ponlok the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy is also pushing to create a national grid in order to decrease the “excessive energy used by the current system,” in which generators power isolated grids, a plan some say could lead to more waste.

“I think of putting grids into villages with low energy consumption is like putting phone landlines in every home when people have mobile phones,” said Jeroen Verschelling, director of the solar lighting firm Kamworks. “It is an outdated technology.”


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