A 700 megawatt (mW) coal-fired power plant has been approved for development in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor district by the Cabinet.
The $1.5 billion investment in the Independent Power Producer (IPP) plant is a venture by Cambodian tycoon Okhna Kith Meng’s Royal Group.
A source familiar with the investment said: “The project calls for the construction of a jetty to enable the shipment and unloading of imported coal to fire the power plant.
“It will take about four years to complete and 80 percent – 4,765.44 million – kilowatt hours a year of the power generated by the power plant will be sold to the Electricte Du Cambodge [EDC], the state owned utility company.”
The project has a 35-year operating licence and is to be undertaken on a “build-own-operate” basis.
“The investment funds for the project will comprise 30 percent injection by the company while the remaining 70 percent is expected to be from projects loan from development banks with an expected interest rate of 6.5 percent.
“The company has been mandated to undertake a rigorous environmental impact assessment on the proposed project site, including possible impact on the front where the jetty is to be constructed as well as pollution control,” the source said.
This is the second power plant project being undertaken by Royal Group. The first is the 400 MWs Lower Sesan 2 hydropower plant, located at Stung Treng.
This was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Hun Sen in December 2018 and has an investment capital estimated at $850 million.
In addition to the 700 MWs plant, the cabinet had also approved a 265 MWs coal power plant in Trapaing Prasad, Oddar Meanchey province, taking advantage of significant thermal coal deposits in the province.
This plant is expected to start generating power by between the end of 2021 and 2022 and is to be undertaken by Han Seng Coal Mines (HSCM) Co Ltd.
For the project in Oddarmeanchey, EDC must buy85 percent of the power produced power – the equivalent to 1,712,58 million kilovolts an hour per year. The form of investment is also build-own-operate with a business licensing period of 25 years.
Total investment capital is $294.30 million of which 30 per cent is from the company’s fund and the remaining 70 per cent is a bank loan with an interest rate of 6.5 per cent.
The company will enjoy nine years of free tax on income, starting from the date of commercial operation.
Han Seng Coal Mines is listed as a Cambodian registered company that specialises in mineral exploration.
An energy engineer familiar with coal -fired power plants told Khmer Times that that the latest two project approvals would bring to four the total number of coal-fired power plants in Cambodia, including one which is already in operation, one approved last year and the two approved last week.
By pushing the boundaries of power plant design in this manner, the fossil fuel industry will ensure that clean coal continues to play a pivotal role in the global energy mixture to the middle of the century and beyond.
In addition to the two power plants approved, the cabinet has also approved a 230 kilovolt grid link from the power plant in Trapaing Prasad connected to the sub-station in Siem Reap province.
The project is estimated to cost $61.45 million with a tax-exempt period of nine years and a business operations agreement for a period of 10 years.