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Cabinet reviews 150MW hydropower project

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The Russey Chrum Krom hydropower dam produces 338MW. CHINA HUADIAN CORP LTD

Cabinet reviews 150MW hydropower project

The Council of Ministers on Wednesday said it will review a proposed 150MW hydropower project on the upper reaches of the Tatai River in Koh Kong province’s northern Thma Bang district.

Proposals for a 500kV transmission line connecting Phnom Penh to the Cambodia-Lao border and another one linking Battambang province with the Cambodian-Thai border will also be on the agenda when the Council of Ministers convenes on Friday.

Victor Jona, the director-general of the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s General Department of Energy, told The Post that the proposals were submitted to the Council of Ministers following completion of their associated environmental and social impact assessments.

He voiced his approval for the project and said minister Suy Sem would back it at the meeting.

He said one of the transmission lines would deliver electricity from a coal-fired power plant in Laos, as outlined in a purchase agreement that Cambodia signed last year. The other line would import power from Thailand.

“We will first seek approval at the Council of Ministers meeting. Then, we will negotiate investment costs and project implementation agreements that will be signed between the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the company.

“This is in addition to the power transmission fee that state-run energy supplier Electricite du Cambodge [EdC] will negotiate with the company,” he said.

Provincial deputy governor Sok Sothy told The Post in June that the hydropower project will be built by the Chinese state-owned China National Heavy Machinery Corp (CNHM) at a cost of $380 million and will supply Koh Kong and neighbouring provinces.

“The project will not only spur development in Koh Kong province, but it will also serve as a battery for electricity distribution throughout Cambodia in the future,” said Sothy.

There are currently three hydropower dams in the province generating 602MW, he said. Russey Chrum Krom produces 338MW, Stung Tatai provides 246MW and Kirirom III adds 18MW.

At a meeting on October 9, the Council of Ministers approved the draft of a $12.796 billion three-year rolling public investment programme (2021-2023).

The minutes of the meeting show that the government will use the investment to fund a total of 629 projects.

The government will spend $8.4 billion on 203 ongoing projects and $4.4 billion on 426 new projects as it works on implementing the National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023.

About 8.9 per cent of the total budget will be disbursed for social projects, 34.2 per cent for economic projects, 50.1 per cent for infrastructure projects and 6.8 per cent for services and inter-sectoral projects.

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