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Huge coal-fired plant discussed

Thailand has been discussing the possibility of investing in a coal-powered electricity plant in Cambodia to produce 4,000 megawatts of power, the country’s Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal told The Nation yesterday.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) would proceed with a plan to build coal-powered plants in Myanmar and Cambodia, according to The Nation.

The Cambodian Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem and EGAT could not be reached for comments.

Meng Saktheara, director general of industry at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said he is not aware of EGAT’s plans, but said he welcomes them. “It would contribute to the diversification of energy sources, which is very important for Cambodia’s development and would attract more industry,” he told the Post yesterday.  

The power exchange project is in line with the ASEAN power sector agenda which promotes regional power trading, according to Rehan Kausar, unit head of the project administration of the Southeast Asia Energy Division from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  

“The opportunity for Cambodia to export power to Thailand and other neighbouring countries will open up new revenue streams for EDC [Electricite du Cambodge],” he said.

To minimise the environmental impact, the plant “should use the same approach in terms of technology and emissions control [like the upcoming 1,800 MW Koh Kong power plant near the Thai border],” he added.

The private sector has a huge influence on the power generation market, according to EDC.  

“We already liberalised the [power generation] market, which means [in the situation of] shortage of funds the government allows the private sector to fully participate in the investment of the generation project,” Keo Rattanak, general director of Electricite du Cambodge, told the Post last week.

“We [the EDC] save the money from [power] generation [projects] and invest in transmission lines,” he said, adding that extending the transmission network is too costly for the private sector.

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