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New coal-fired power plant approved

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
File photo of coal. The CDC has approved a $1 billion 700 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Koh Kong province. CPC

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has approved a $1 billion 700 megawatt (mW) coal-fired power plant in  Koh Kong.

The plant was invested in by Botum Sakor Energy Company ltd, an affiliated company of Royal Group, located in Thmar Sor commune, Botum Sakor district, Koh Kong province. Once the project is complete, it is expected to create some 360 local jobs.

The Royal Group secured 168.8 hectares of land in Koh Kong’s Botum Sakor National Park under a leasing agreement to develop the plant. The sub-decree, signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and released on Aug 6, states that the government has reclassified the state-public land of the park, in Thmar Sor and Chamlong Kor village, Thmar Sor commune, Botum Sakor district, to state-private land for sustainable-use.

In October, CDC also approved a 265mW coal-fired power
plant project invested in by Oddormeanchey Power Industrial Co Ltd in Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat district.

The plant at Koh Kong will comprise two generators. One producing 350mW is scheduled to come online in 2024, with the second 350mW generator scheduled to be ready in 2025, said Victor Jona, director-general of the General Department of Energy of Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME).

He said the project was part of the master plan of the MME to supply power across the country. Jona said demand for power is increasing year-on-year and the ministry has to make sure there is enough for the country stretching through 2040.

“We will pay $0.072 per kilowatt hour {under our agreement],” Jona added. “[And we] have done a thorough study on the environmental impact of the coal power plant.”

Jona said the government has balanced the impact on the environment and the benefits to the Kingdom’s economy.

Before giving the licence to the investors, the government said it had thought through all aspects of the project.

Koh Kong Deputy Governor Sok Sothy said the power generated from the coal power plant will be distributed in the province, and to  the capital and other provinces. He said this will be the first coal power plant in Koh Kong.

He added the company will build a port to import the coal needed to supply the plant. The company has already cleared and prepared the land, Sothy said. “We have studied thoroughly the social, economic and environment impact and there is no issue regarding the project for the people in the surrounding area,” he added.

On Monday this week, MME Minister Suy Sem signed two energy project agreements. The first agreement was between the MME and the China National Heavy Machinery Corp (CHMC)  for a 150mW hydropower dam in Tatai Leu River, Koh Kong, under the Build-Operation-Transfer (BOT) process.

The second agreement signed by the MME was with the SchneiTec Co Ltd to build 500 kilowatt transmission lines connecting Phnom Penh to the Cambodia-Lao border and another link from Battambang province to the Cambodian-Thai border.

An annual report from the MME shows that Cambodia’s main electricity sources are hydroelectric dams and coal-fired power plants. So far, there are two coal-fired power plants in the country.

CELI+II is located in Otres commune, Stung Hav district, Preah Sihanouk province and generates 235 mW.  CIIDG I + II is located in Otres commune, Stung Hav district, Preah Sihanouk province and generates 377 megawatts. There are seven hydropower dams with a total capacity of 1,328mW.

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