Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lower Sesan 2’s power not worth a dam: NGO

Lower Sesan 2’s power not worth a dam: NGO

Lower Sesan 2’s power not worth a dam: NGO

120831_04

People navigate a boat down the Sesan River, past Kbal Romea commune, in Stung Treng province’s Sesan district last year. Photograph: Adam Miller/Phnom Penh Post

While the humanitarian objections to Mondulkiri’s proposed Lower Sesan 2 hydropower dam project are well documented, a report from conservation NGO International Rivers yesterday highlighted an objection of another sort: the Lower Sesan wouldn’t be a very good location for a dam in the first place.

According to the report, which compiled information from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), environmental assessments and local media reports, the Lower Sesan is a poor place for such a project from a logistical standpoint, and the dam would rank among the least efficient in terms of megawatts (MW) of power produced versus land lost to flooding.

“If the project generates more than 10 MW per square kilometre of reservoir, the performance is considered good, 5-10 MW is moderate, and below 5 MW the project ‘needs to be carefully assessed’,” the report reads, citing a technical paper from the ADB. “The Lower Sesan 2 receives a score of only 1.1 MW [per square kilometer] of reservoir.”

The report said that the Lower Sesan is heavily dammed above the proposed site, and even dams upstream are struggling to get enough water to operate at full capacity – due in part to more dams even farther upstream.  

In the dry season, the 400 MW dam would only be able to operate at one-quarter of its capacity.

According to SRP lawmaker Son Chhay, who has long opposed the dam, not only is the project economically unfeasible, its proposed output is still a matter of debate.

“It’s exaggerated,” he said.

Chhay also questioned the prospect of selling half of the dam’s output to Vietnam, which currently imports electricity to Cambodia.  

Right now, Vietnam imports 135 MW of power per day to Phnom Penh alone, according to Electricite du Cambodge.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart White at [email protected]
With assistance from Chhay Channyda

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,