CAMBODIA faces a shortage of electricity, but a hydropower project in Kampot province could help alleviate these concerns when it comes fully on line later this year, according to business people.
Construction of the Kamchay Hydropower Plant had largely wrapped up but work was continuing on connecting the project to the Electricitie Du Cambodge-run national grid, Kim Sovan, a representative of the Sinohydro Kamchay Hydroelectric Company said.
“We have already completed our project here, and we will start our operations by December of this year,” Kim Sovan said yesterday.
The US$280 million project, consisting of three separate hydropower plants, is being built by the Sinohydro Kamchay Hydroelectric Company on the Kamchay River.
The project will be able to generate about 194 megawatts of electricity a year once it comes on line.
The first phase of the project, completed in 2009, is producing about 10 megawatts of electricity a year.
Business leaders yesterday expressed their support for increased domestic electricity generation, saying it would reduce the cost of doing business in Cambodia.
“Of course we appreciate receiving more supply. We still have a shortage of power for production,” Garments Manufacturers Association in Cambodia secretary-general Ken Loo said.
“We see that the power supply situation is much improved on before, but now it is not at 100 per cent.”
Electricity generation is a major concern for the garment industry at present.
Ken Loo said Cambodia’s garment factories faced higher electricity costs than those in neighbouring countries.
This translated to higher operational costs. Insufficient power in much of the country also meant factories were generally located in Phnom Penh.
“Every factory has its own generator, but they don’t want to use them because of the cost,” he said. “They need more power from the state.”
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce director-general Nguon Menh Tech said increasing the availability of electricity would lead to increased investment.
“It could help us attract more investment, because the lack of electricity supply is a main concern,” he said.
Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh told The Post last week that electricity generation was a handicap compared to neighbouring countries, but would be solved as more projects came on line.
“I believe that in less than five years, everything will be almost on par [with Cambodia’s neighbours]. That means we will no longer be under a handicap compared with our neighbours,” he said.
Ith Praing, Secretary of State of Ministry of Mine and Energy, could not be reached for comment yesterday.