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New Sihanoukville power station

Prime Minister Hun Sen will sign an agreement in China this week for the construction a US$362 million coal-fired power plant in Sihanoukville province, to be run as a joint venture between a local company and a Chinese firm.

The plant, approved by the Council of Ministers on Friday, is set to be built in Stoeng Hav Industrial Zone with a capacity of 270 Megawatts of energy once complete, according to a government statement.

Cambodia International Development Group Co Ltd, a joint venture between unnamed local and Chinese firms, was granted a 33-year concession to build and operate the plant starting from next year.

Hun Sen said yesterday that he would sign a contract with China regarding the project during his five day-official visit to the People’s Republic this week.

Id Praing, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy said yesterday that the new plant would be operating by 2014.

“We hope that under this project Cambodia would have additional power to meet the demand for electricity in the future,” he said.

MIME’s development plan to meet growing electricity demand includes building plants with 700 MW total capacity around Sihanoukville between 2011 and 2015.

Chhit Sam Arth President of NGO Forum on Cambodia said the government should encourage in-depth studies on the environmental impact of coal-fired power plants, as approved locations are near coastal areas potentially popular with tourists.

“We agree that Cambodia needs electric power, but we encourage the government and the companies developing such projects to pay attention to the impact in order not to affect the quality of underground water and the sea,” he said.

But Id Praing said the project was not likely to affect the coastal environment because a study has found that the expected level of carbon emissions was lower than international standards.

“We need power from these plants. It is a sign of development in this sector that will be able to supply more power as soon as possible, but we will never forget the challenges,” he said.

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