ASEAN-Cambodia: Sustainable development in energy sector

I wrote this essay to compete with essay writer from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Brunei, Philippines, China, and India. It was arranged by Asian Youth Energy Summit 2014 (AYES2014), under the theme of "Powering the future of Asia". The Top finally 3 are come from Cambodia, Indian, and Indonesia. And here I am please to publish my Top 3 fianalist original essay here, to seek more idea and comment from the reader.


Development in energy sector is very important to ensure the future of energy reliability, efficiency, and sustainable, but to be able to development in this three main factors we must understanding deeply and clearly about what are the challenges of development in energy sector nowadays, in specific region.

First of all, we will discuss about some important problem of the reliability of energy distribution. Recently, the growing of amount of energy produced from the centralized energy generators are not matched to the rapid grow of population and high commercial buildings creates challenges in the ensuring energy reliable in Cambodia. Especially, in Phnom Penh, capital city of Cambodia, during dry season. In fact, the electricity always cut off more than one time per day, and takes more than an hour to get electricity back.

In order to eliminate the lack in electricity supplying, government should create and invest more on centralized energy generators by double the production of the current generators and build more centralize electricity generators depending on resources around that area such as build more dams in the area that surrounding by high ground and have water flow, and also depending on the percentage of population growth every year. The government should promote the investment in the area that does not have enough electricity. Also the electricity distributor company should create a team which do the survey and predict how much will the demand of the energy need in next every coming quarter at least, to ensure there are enough energy product to supply in the area.

The second priority of sustainable energy development is using the energy efficiency. There are so many challenges about energy efficiency in Cambodia and this challenges are caused from many sectors such as electricity distributor and the consumer, wrong decision between choosing, and understanding about short term and long term advantage between second-hand and new electronic product, hard to adapt to the new sharing culture of transportation solution is also one of the important problem, slowly grow in building transportation infrastructure, slowly of embedding the new technology into energy consumption factors such as embedding the idea of smart building and smart grid, and the last one is wasting use energy in the non-essential activities such as using big LED screen for public advertisement.

The challenge in the distributor part is the electricity distribution equipment are very old, there are very less number of the new equipment have been installed or replaced compare to the growth of the consumption amount. Indeed, the old or broken equipment waste lots of amount of energy due to the malfunction or non-functionality. For instant, we could see the old equipments on most of the streets in the capital, and there are many old and new cables and electric wires almost everywhere.

To solve this problem the electricity distributor must have the efficient plan to distribute electricity. For example, in a block of building there are many separated consumers, therefore they should create a smaller central distribution in any block and share the electricity, no need to waste the energy on the wire to every unique consumer from the only one distribution.

In the other hand, since the idea of smart building is not broadly influent during the time the old building are constructed, hence most the commercial buildings and the government office buildings that are already built in the city are built without the conception of using energy efficiency. For instance, we can see that most of that building had not equipped with the electricity saver facilities such as auto-turn off timing air-conditioner, Auto light-off at daylight, and etc.

The only way to get rid of this problem is we have to emerge, and start to practice the idea of smart building, smart grid, and other instance solution depend on the situation. For example, if the numbers of electricity units grow abnormally, immediately hire an expert to find out the problem because if something go wrong, manually saving is not the solution. Redesign and repair the all old office rooms into air-con room, not just equip the air-con.

Now day, most of the old office are equipped with the air-conditioner, yet the office room is designed to take advantage from the natural air like in one room has a lot of windows to influent the air flow to reduce the heat inside the room, but fortunately we can deal with that problem by immediately change and fix the broken equipment to avoid wasting energy.

Another big problem, people are usually buy the second hand electronic equipments such as air-conditioner, washing machine, refrigerator, and others which has lower price but consume much the electricity. At the same time, second hand transportation are also very popular amount people, since the new transportations have very high import tax, so most people drive old car which is consumed a lot of petrol and gas.

To work against the wasting energy on old electronic devices, products, and transportations, we must create some rules to make consumers use the old and second hand electronic devices correctly and avoid over-consume the electricity products.

In the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh City (PP), the culture of sharing public transportation to travel across the city seems to be new. In fact, in last few years, the public shuttle bus was established and shutdown slowly due to the price and less passengers. Another reason that people not use the public shuttle bus is not only because of the price, it is also because people in PP usually using Moto-taxi (Motorbike-taxi) which is cheaper and take less time since the Moto-taxi driver be able to use the shortest path to the destination, and can find the path to avoid the traffic congestion. Unlike the shuttle bus company, they need long time to create more available path to more destinations. Similarly, to transfer goods, containers, and other products from pier to the warehouse, from ware house to the market, in Cambodia we can see that the solution is only transfer using big trucks. There are every less percentages that the things are transfer by train, since train can hold more goods. Unfortunately the railway system in Cambodia is very old and some are broken due to it go throught so many wars in the last few decades.

Public transportations can be successfully launch it not only depends on the understanding of its advantage in the people mind, but also the facility and the reflexive of the company such as make more available path to main destinations in the city and its price. In order to success this challenge government should attract more investors to invest in this domain. Therefore it should have more than one companies in this domain. Another important thing, that is the government should build or invest more on the transportation infrastructure in the future such as rail ways and high ways.

The last problem about energy efficiency is there are so many modern problems also. Since everyone understands that we do not have enough energy to use for people, but still there are a lot of big public LED advertisement screen are installed on the busy spot in city. As we know, all this big LED screens are consumed so much electricities since it needs many air-conditions to lower its heat in every LED advertisement screen. Hence, government should try to stop all this non-essential investment which is waste a lot of energy which is at the same time we even do not have enough energy for everyone in the city.

The last most important thing in energy development is sustainable energy development. There are many challenge in this development such as understanding the advantage of sustainable energy. The fact behind sustainable energy development is there are very less people are using and understanding the sustainable energy source and its advantages, since the solar power plant is so expensive and no news or media are broadcast widely about this. For example, we are rarely see the solar power plant in the rural area, even the city. Biomass gas is not widely use since most of the common people cannot build easily.

Actually, sustainable energy should be widely broadcast to everyone. Sustainable energy program should be put into the study program from primary school to high school or even create special subject for this domain. It is also can help people to understand more about sustainable energy by creating social even in the park or in the community. Government also can promote the sustainable energy by reducing the tax for sustainable energy equipment such as solar power plant, so investor can lower the price and more people that understand about the advantages of it will decide to use it, especially people in remote area.

In brief, to achieve in development sustainable energy required the understanding and participation of everyone in the community and support from government also.

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