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Proposed Koh Kong dam one step closer

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The Russey Chrum Krom hydropower dam produces 338MW. CHINA HUADIAN CORP LTD

Proposed Koh Kong dam one step closer

A proposed 150MW hydropower project on the upper reaches of the Tatai river in Koh Kong province’s northern Thma Bang district is looking more likely to happen, as the government strives to promote investment in the electricity sector and increase supply.

Provincial deputy governor Sok Sothy told The Post that investment negotiations are expected to open soon.

He said: “Our assessment of environmental and social impact [associated with the new project] is about 80 per cent complete, with social impact largely determined to be minimal.

“We have studied the impact on two communes [in Thma Bang district’s northwest] – Russey Chrum and Tatai Leu.”

The project will be built by the Chinese state-owned China National Heavy Machinery Corp (CNHM) at a cost of $380 million and will supply Koh Kong and neighbouring provinces, he said.

“The project will not only spur development in Koh Kong province, but it will also serve as a battery for electricity distribution throughout Cambodia in the future,” said Sothy.

There are currently three hydropower dams in the province generating 602MW, he said. Russey Chrum Krom produces 338MW, Stung Tatai provides 246MW and Kirirom III adds 18MW.

Ministry of Mines and Energy’s General Department of Energy director-general Victor Jona said CNHM is in early stages of planning their new upper Tatai river project.

But its preliminary assessments show that the project is technically sound, and will be able to provide more than 50 per cent during the dry season, he said. “I personally believe that the project is technically and economically sound.

“The project will go online in 2026, pending agreement on the final price [for the electricity generated]. Initial negotiations have not yet begun,” said Jona.

He previously told The Post that Cambodia can currently generate about 70-80 per cent of total domestic electricity consumption.

Keo Ratanak, director-general of state-run electricity supplier Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), previously said the Kingdom is working to generate more than 1,000MW of new energy by the end of this year.

“EdC is currently trying to find electricity in a number of ways, such as using coal-fired power plants and solar energy, and purchasing from low-cost sources [such as Laos] to remedy the situation,” he said.

The EAC’s 2018 Annual Report said Cambodia planned to increase its power supply to 2,870MW by last year, up from 2,650.26MW in 2018.

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