Company representatives met with prime minister last week and are awaiting preliminary approval from the government
THE government is considering an economic feasibility study submitted by a South Korean firm to build a US$700 million hydro-power dam in Ratanakkiri province, according to a senior energy official.
But even if the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy (MINE) gives the greenlight to the KTC Cable Co project, an environmental assessment will also need to be conducted, said Bun Narith, the deputy director general of the ministry’s Department of Hydropower.
“We welcome all investors who wish to invest or develop hydroelectric dams in Cambodia because we need power for our consumption and for supporting businesses,” he said. “We are ready to issue the licence if we find that the project is economically beneficial, but the company must go through a pre-evaluation process to determine possible benefits and environmental impacts before the construction can be started.”
The 325-megawatt-capacity Sesan Krom III dam would take five years to build following approval, Bun Narith said.
The project is one of 13, located mostly in the west and northeast of Cambodia, that the government is assessing for economic feasibility.
Ministry Director General Victor Zona told the Post in September that the dams could produce a combined 2,000MW of electricity. He said the 420MW Sesan Krom II dam, to be built by Vietnam Electricity on Stung Treng province’s Sesan River, was expected to be approved for construction next year. He said he hoped all 13 would be complete by 2020.
Seven dams approved
The government has already approved the construction of seven hydroelectric dams, which are expected to be completed between 2010 and 2015 and produce almost 1,000MW of electricity.
Zona said that a ministry study found that Cambodia will need to produce 3,000MW of electricity by 2020 to meet local needs. With the 20 dams online, the Kingdom would have capacity to produce 5,000MW from hydroelectricity, coal and gas, meaning it would be able to export 40 percent of its total production each year, he said.
According to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology's National Water Resources Policy, Cambodia has the potential to develop about 10,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power. The ministry has identified around 60 potential sites.
NGO Forum on Cambodia Executive Director Chhith Sam Ath said Wednesday that the government must thoroughly consider the possible environmental impacts.
“It is obvious that Cambodia is lacking in electricity, but we want the government to consider alternatives to hydroelectric dams that do not have such a bad effect on water and the environment,” he said.
KTC meeting with Hun Sen
KTC Cable Co President Kim Myong Il reportedly met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on October 6 to discuss the company's plans. The company has already built a cable and wire factory in Phnom Penh and a golf course in Siem Reap province.