Deal Inked To Build Power Plant on River

Officials signed a deal Thurs­day authorizing Chinese state-owned Sinohydro Corporation to be­gin con­structing a $280 million hy­dropower plant on Kampot prov­ince’s Kamchhay river.

The contract, signed at a ceremony in Phnom Penh by Mini­ster of Industry, Mine and Ener­gy Suy Sem and Sinohydro board dir­ector Liu Quitao, sets forth plans to begin building the 193-meg­awatt plant about 15 km outside of Kampot town four years from now, said Minister of Ener­gy Suy Sem. Con­struction is ex­pected to be finished in 2010, he ad­ded.

The plant is expected to produce 498 million kilowatt-hours per year, and Sinohydro has contracted to sell electricity to state-run Electricite du Cambodge at an av­erage rate of $0.08 per kilowatt hour for four decades, the min­ister ad­ded.

A press release issued by the min­istry claimed that the dam will only have a little negative impact on the environment, and its benefits will outweigh its disadvantages.

At the signing ceremony, Dep­uty Prime Minister Sok An said Cam­bodians have dreamed of har­nessing the power of water since the 1970s.

“Hydropower will reduce the price of electricity and attract other businesses as well. The high cost of international fuel is seriously affecting businesses and in­vest­ment,” Sok An said. He en­cour­aged other investors to step for­ward, saying the country has the ca­pacity for many more hy­dro­power plants.

“Cambodia will increase step by step the amount of power it can supply the market,” he said, ad­ding that the country also has the potential to develop natural gas production 2009.

“If that happens, it will reduce risk and provide a secure source of power,” he said.

Liu Quitao said the Sinohydro Corporation also plans to invest in the country’s airports, bridges and sewer systems.


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