Counting on coal: Cambodia’s fossil fuel push flounders with delays

The Kingdom’s plans for coal power expansion survived China’s promise to cut overseas coal investments. But most of the promised plants still aren’t built as volatile fuel prices and the push for clean energy threaten the future of coal.

he skeletal exterior of one of the newest coal power plants in Cambodia sat silent amongst farmland in Oddar Meanchey. On a still afternoon at the very end of June, weeds entangling brick stacks, cement mixers and truck tires showed construction at the Han Seng plant had been long paused.

Locals toasting to happy hour down the road from the front gate of the site complained of months of delayed pay for a relative working there as a security guard, adding there was no set date for operations to resume. There was little more information at the nearby Ou Svay commune hall.

“Maybe the plan changed to complete construction by 2025?” questioned Roeun Phearin, who was a commune consultant for the plant. “The construction is now paused and we don’t know the reason because it is the internal information of the company.”

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