The Hydropower Lower Sesan II power plant, which will be launched next week, is set to add another 20 per cent to the Kingdom’s current total electricity production, said a senior official of the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
The plant has a total electricity generating capacity of 400 megawatts, which will bring the total amount of hydropower produced by Cambodia to 1,328 megawatts.
The dam, which is located in Stung Treng province, is constructed on 36,000ha with a height of 80m, of which 75m serves as water preservation and the remaining five meters reserved to avert the risk of excess water.
The project is a joint investment by Chinese firm Hydrolancang International Energy Co Ltd, which holds 51 per cent of its shares, Royal Group (39 percent), while the rest is held by a Vietnamese-owned company, EVN, with a total investment of more than $800 million.
The seventh hydropower dam
Ministry spokesman Victor Jona said that after trial launches, the power plant will officially be launched next week.
“The launch of [the Hydropower Lower Sesan II power plant] is very important in promoting energy security and making supply more stable,” he said.
The launch of the Sesan II will bring the total number of hydropower dams in Cambodia to seven.
However, Jona said although Cambodia is able to produce much of its own electricity, it still needs to buy 15 percent of its electric power from neighboring countries.
“Every year, electricity consumption in Cambodia increases between 13 and 15 percent.”
Jona said the ministry is currently studying the possibility of building many hydropower dams in the southwest and northeast quadrants of the Kingdom. But such construction will not be seen soon, as it requires detailed studies on the environmental and social impact.
“The government’s strategy is to find low-cost energy sources to contribute to economic growth and give all people and enterprises low-cost electricity,” he said.
Currently, about 45 percent of the electricity consumed in Cambodia is from hydroelectric sources, about 35 percent from coal-fired power plants, about five percent from petroleum, biomass energy plants and solar power, while 15 percent comes neighboring countries.
During Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Laos last week, Cambodia signed to buy 230kV and 500kV of power from the Lao Hatch Station to Stung Treng station in Cambodia.
A ministry report published late last year showed that based on a preliminary assessment, Cambodia could potentially extract about 10,000 megawatts from hydropower dams.