5 Companies Bid on Hydroelectric Dam Project

Five foreign companies have sub­­­­mitted bids to construct a $250 million hydroelectric dam on Kam­chai Mountain near Bokor Na­tional Park in Kampot province, a Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy official said Tuesday.

Now the companies will have to wait 15 days for the ministry to re­view the bids and award the five-year contract, said Secretary of State Ith Praing.

The five companies were shortlisted for the final phase of bidding in July. The submissions include cost analyses for the entire project, projected electricity costs and environmental impact assessments.

Under the agreement, the company will invest the initial capital and recoup the investment by selling electricity to state owned Elec­tricite du Cambodge.

Ith Praing said the main criteria for winning the lucrative contract is whether the company has the initial $250 million to invest and can pro­vide competitive prices. “The ministry will award the in­vest­­ment to the company that can sell us the cheapest electricity,” he said.

After the winner is announced, the company will be required to sign a contract with the government, but it can set its own date for construction to begin. The dam must be finished by 2010.

The planned location for the dam was originally Bokor National Park, but Ith Praing said that changed after the Ministry of En­vironment conducted an environmental impact assessment. Plans to build the dam have sparked con­troversy since 2001, when the Cana­dian government pulled funding for an environmental im­pact assessment part way through the study. Environ­ment­alists and politicians have had serious doubts about the project.

But Ith Praing said the project will funnel electricity to Phnom Penh and will lower power costs. He said representatives from one of the companies, China Guodian Corp, met Prime Minis­ter Hun Sen last week and claimed the dam could generate 180,000 kilowatts. Electricte du Cambodge Gen­eral Director Tan Kim Vin said the pro­­ject would help lower elec­tricity costs because his company uses fuel for power, but he ex­pressed doubts about China Guo­dian Corp’s claim about the dam’s po­­tential production.


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