Huadian Sihanoukville Power Generation Co Ltd (HSPGC), under China’s Huadian Overseas Investment Co Ltd, on December 16 officially put online the “number-two unit” of its 700MW coal-fired HSPGC Power Plant in Preah Sihanouk province, after a successful commissioning test, making it the largest power station in Cambodia.

The operator said in a statement that the total installed capacity in Cambodia of state-owned power group China Huadian Corp Ltd – Huadian Overseas Investment’s wholly-owning parent company – has reached 1.038GW, also making the group the largest power generator in the Kingdom.

HSPGC Power Plant – located in western Stung Hav district’s Kam Penh commune – has adopted Chinese standards, technology and equipment, is fitted with two 350MW supercritical condensing coal-fired units, and has “the most advanced indicators, and the highest environmental protection level in Cambodia”, according to the company.

“The full operation of HSPGC Power Plant is of great significance for improving Cambodia’s power supply structure and perfecting Cambodia’s power infrastructure,” it said, noting that the main construction work started on August 18, 2020.

“It will also play an important role in enhancing the friendship between the Chinese and Cambodian people, deepening economic and technological cooperation between the two countries, and promoting the rapid development of the local economy and society,” the firm added.

Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesman Kheang Phearom affirmed that the electricity generated by the coal-fired power station – roughly 14km north-northeast of Sihanoukville – would supply other localities outside of the southwestern coastal province as well.

He lauded HSPGC Power Plant as a “really important contribution to power supply development, for our economy”.

Despite the Covid-19 crisis, the power station began producing power ahead of schedule or “early 2023” as Keo Rottanak, director-general of national power utility Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), had told The Post a week after a signing and groundbreaking ceremony for the project that was held in mid-December 2019. He had, however, predicted that construction would be completed by end-2022.

“The plant will be able to produce power in dry season and will help lower the price of electricity. The joint venture between the two companies shows the strong ties between China and Cambodia,” he said then.

At the time, it was widely reported that locally-owned Cambodia International Investment and Development Group (CIIDG) and China Huadian Hong Kong Co Ltd (CHDHK) were partnering up to build the power plant, located at GPS coordinates 10.733N, 103.583E.

In a March 2021 notice, the Council for the Development of Cambodia, the government’s highest decision-making body for large-scale investments, disclosed that the project had registered investment capital of $1.283 billion.

CHDHK is also part of the China Huadian Group, which is also behind the Russey Chrum hydroelectric dam in Koh Kong province.

Speaking at the mid-December 2019 ceremony, CHDHK director Fang Zheng touted the group’s experience in the Russian and Indonesian power sectors, proclaiming that the Preah Sihanouk project would bolster Cambodia’s energy industry.

“The coal-fired power plant in Preah Sihanouk province will be a contribution from our company to addressing the power shortages Cambodia faces in dry season. Furthermore, the investment will attract other foreign investors to invest in the province,” Fang said.