New dams in Cambodia pit ‘green’ hydropower against REDD+ project

The recent approval of two hydropower dams in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains could undermine a REDD+ carbon project in the area.

Two new hydropower dams approved by Cambodian authorities on Nov. 21 look set to bring further fragmentation to the dense rainforests of the Cardamom Mountains.

If built as planned along the Kong Hen and the Russei Chrum rivers in southern Cambodia, both dams will be constructed inside Cardamom National Park, and are likely to have an impact on the Cardamoms REDD+ project, arguably Cambodia’s most prominent foray into the carbon market.

The anticipated location for the 100-megawatt Veal Thmor Kambot hydropower dam sits some 15 kilometers (9 miles) inside the borders of the REDD+ project, while the 70 MW Russei Chrum Kandal dam looks set to be built less than 2 km, or about a mile, outside the boundaries of the REDD+ project.

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