W ITH a splash of television and media coverage, a Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) has been signed between the Royal Government of Cambodia and Intercore,
Inc, an American company to construct a 106 Mega-Watt power station together
with a transmission and distribution network for Phnom Penh.
power plant dwarfs in generating capacity the city's existing generating
stations and could provide most of Phnom Penh's power needs.
there is a major, less public obstacle to be overcome. Though other reports put
the deal at $150 million dollar over 10-15 years, the money has neither been
committed nor has it been found.
Another US company, The Wing Group, is
charged with the task of finding the money. According to George Jackovice, of
The Wing Group, finding investors will depend on the success of the Royal
Government in creating an environment which will inspire confidence among
international sources of investment capital.
"We have told the Royal
Government that a legal and accounting framework needs to be established before
we can go to find the financing, so we can create some interest in the finance
community," Jacovice said.
"Right now Cambodia does not have a credit
rating. I don't know of another country without a credit rating," he
"If Cambodia wants a credit rating it will have to create this
framework. The Cambodian government needs the confidence of the international
finance community. I can't create it, and I know that the Cambodian government
knows this," Jackovice said.
Don Cornell, the Intercore's president is
optimistic. "The Royal Government understands the importance of the project and
the importance of creating the rule of law and a legal environment conducive to
inspiring confidence and to securing investments. They are fully commited to the
Jackovice said after the ceremony that he would leave Phnom Penh
to begin canvassing potential investors. Cornell said that he would start on the
The two firms involved in the project, Don Cornell's
Intercore and The Wing Group, have years of experience in their
The Wing Group is a US company that has been involved in finding
funding for major power projects in China, India and Kuwait. A recent project
was the financing of the massive, 1800 Mega-Watt Teesside plant in England. The
Wing Group's sole interest is in finding funds for power
Intercore Inc. has its home offices in St Petersburg, Florida.
Intercore's plan is big: three 35 Mega-Watt generators, 22 miles (35 km)
of high voltage transmission line and three to four sub-stations are
The 110 KV power line will run from north of Boeng Kak, to the
west and south of the city in a large semi-circle. "We cannot put power lines in
front of the Royal Palace, so transmission lines will run radially inward from
the 22 mile semi-circle around the city."
Two of the generators will be
gas turbines, the third will be steam driven. Waste heat from the gas turbines
will power the third generator. "Using a stag-cycle will be much more
efficient," Cornell explained.
"We want to put in a central generator
that has some size and that has some longevity. We are looking at 25 years,"
Jackovice and Cornell say that neither company has links to
the United States government. "But Ambassador Charles Twining and the US
government fully backs the project. The US wants to see Cambodia take off,"
Cornell envisages future power plants in Cambodia's major
cities which use the same technologies as the 106 MW plant, and thus will
require the same spare parts, and the same training for its managment and
maintenance. For him the project is just the first step in electrifying the