Since 2010, Cambodia’s demand for electricity has grown at an average of around 20% per year, leading to significant investment in electricity generation. Energy efficiency is a key pillar of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s (RGC) energy plan, as it has enormous potential to slow down the rapidly growing power demand and play a vital role in ensuring the country’s low-carbon development path. This is particularly important in light of recent concerns about international energy security, highlighted by fossil fuel price hikes after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Although not a direct victim of the energy crisis, Cambodia has recognised the need to be energy secure to decrease its vulnerability to external shocks. The debt crises in neighbouring countries, for instance, could exacerbate vulnerability by disrupting supply chains and affecting energy import prices. Cambodia is cognizant of the need to be less dependent on energy imports and less affected by volatile fossil fuel prices, for which investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency would mitigate the effects.
Cambodia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) put together the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan in 2020, followed by the new National Energy Efficiency Policy (NEEP) in early 2023. As the country’s first long-term plan for its power sector, NEEP is the first dedicated policy on energy efficiency and establishes the enabling framework for future developments in this area. The NEEP sets an ambitious national target for the reduction of energy consumption of at least 19% by 2030 in relation to a scenario without energy efficiency. Energy efficiency initiatives can reach many areas, including buildings or household appliances.
Regarding household appliances, measures put in place by the MME include the drafting of the Sub Decree on Energy Efficiency Standards and Labelling for Electrical Appliances and Equipment, which sets the parameters for the implementation of an energy efficiency evaluation index, a test standard, Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for household appliances, and the creation and harmonisation of a national energy label with ASEAN standards.
Energy efficiency labels provide accurate and comparable information on the energy consumption of electrical appliances, like computers, air conditioners, or fridges, helping consumers identify more energy-efficient products at the time of purchase. By buying more efficient equipment, consumers can save money on their energy bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, it encourages manufacturers to drive innovation by using more energy-saving technologies. Manufacturers are keen to see their energy-labelled products in the highest available category when compared to competitors. Step by step, electrical appliances are becoming more and more efficient.
Impact on business
Without the effective implementation of energy efficiency labels, consumers are left in the dark about a critical element of the energy consumption of appliances they plan to buy. This can potentially lead to higher electricity consumption, as consumers are unable to choose the best options on the market.
High electricity use is a significant risk in a country that has only recently experienced a substantial rise in spending power by its middle classes and still suffers from relatively high energy prices. The dangers of high electricity consumption from household appliances, in the absence of comparable standards, risk dampening the adoption of a modern, consumer lifestyle by more and more Cambodians. This danger also adds uncertainty to the RGC’s stated target of 30% energy reduction.
- Implement an energy efficiency labelling scheme.
We therefore respectfully recommend that the MME follows up on its drafting of the Sub Decree and prioritises the implementation of energy efficiency labels for at least three key appliance categories, along with testing and certification procedures. The categories are lighting, refrigerators, and air conditioners, which were selected since they are the three major electricity-consuming devices in a typical urban middle-class household in Cambodia.
Energy labelling and minimum efficiency standards for household devices are among the most promising policy instruments. Introducing energy labelling for these three appliance categories in Cambodia ensures consumers can start enjoying the benefits of comparing household appliances based on their stated energy efficiency, potentially meaning each family could save up to 3,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 545 US dollars in energy costs every year.
Royal government of Cambodia
Initiative from Eurocham: The issue has been raised by the Green Business Committee within The White Book edition 2024 in the Recommendation No. 32.
Ministry of Environment