Remarks by Ambassador William A. Heidt at the Signing Ceremony for the CEL II Power Plant Project Agreement

U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh
April 26, 2017
(as prepared for delivery)

H.E. Keo Rottanak, Director General of Electricite Du Cambodge;
H.E. Victor Jona, Director General, Ministry of Mines and Energy;
Ambassador Hidehisa Horinouchi of the Embassy of Japan;
Mr. Ruzaimi Mohamad, Minister Counselor, Embassy of Malaysia;
Dato Sean H’ng, Group Chief Executive Officer, HNG Capital Sdn Bhd;
Mr. Wouter Van Wersch; President and CEO of GE ASEAN;
Mr. Ryo Matsukawa, President and CEO of Toshiba Plant System and Services Corporation;
Distinguished guests, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to welcome you here this morning to the U.S. Embassy to witness the signing of an agreement between General Electric and TPSC for the development of the 135 megawatt CEL II coal fired power plant in Sihanoukville. I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Mines and Energy and Electricite Du Cambodge for their strong leadership in improving Cambodia’s energy quality and reliability.

I am very proud that GE, one of America’s best known technology companies, is contributing to such a major project that will address Cambodia’s energy needs and fuel its continued economic growth.

This plant is a milestone for several reasons. It will utilize the most cutting edge technology and will be the cleanest, most efficient coal-fired plant in Cambodia.

It’s also the first project for GE Power in Cambodia, and in fact, represents the largest contract in GE Cambodia’s history. And I believe it is the first time a Japanese company has won a bid on a thermal power plant in Cambodia as well.

This collaboration between Cambodia Energy Limited II, Toshiba Plant System and Services Corporation, and GE demonstrates how world-class companies from several countries can cooperate to support Cambodia’s sustainable economic development.

When I served in Cambodia in the late 1990s, the electricity supply was unreliable and expensive, and our Embassy ran on diesel generators 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Today, thanks to the government’s commitment, and the sustained efforts of Electricite Du Cambodge, electricity is reliable and easy to access in Phnom Penh. The Embassy now runs 100 percent on EDC power—and is saving tens of thousands of dollars a month. Cambodia has also made huge progress expanding the power grid to rural areas and bringing down the cost of power to consumers.

There are still challenges ahead, but projects like this send a crucial signal to both the Cambodian people and potential foreign investors that the government’s goal of providing reliable, affordable, and universal electricity is on track and moving forward.

In addition to the signing of the CEL II Power Plant project, I’m also delighted to witness the signing of an important memorandum of understanding this morning between GE and the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

This MOU sets out a Continuous Emission Monitoring System that will give the Cambodian government tools to monitor and analyze emissions from all power plants in Cambodia.

Using the system’s data, Cambodia and GE will work together to reduce emissions and minimize the environmental impact of Cambodia’s power plants while improving their efficiency and reliability and lowering energy costs. I commend the Ministry of Mines and Energy for taking this important step towards a more responsible and effective energy system.

American companies are known around the world for their innovation, technology, and high business standards. GE is no exception. In addition to bringing their state of the art energy technologies to the Cambodian marketplace, GE has is helping the Cambodian people access clean water and better healthcare through the GE Foundation.

The GE Foundation has donated medical equipment to 35 hospitals across the country and provided international-standard technical training for Cambodian medical professionals. The foundation has also installed water purification systems in ten provincial hospitals.

These contributions demonstrate GE’s commitment to improving the quality of life for thousands of needy Cambodians.

Again, congratulations to GE, TPSC, Cambodia Energy Limited II, the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and Electricite du Cambodge for bringing these critical investments in Cambodia’s future to reality.