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Coal-fired power plant to be built in Sihanoukville

By: Nguon Sovan and The Mekong Times Posted: March-24-2008 in
Nguon Sovan and The Mekong Times

A project to build a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Sihanoukville was approved by the Council of Ministers on Friday, with plans for it to come online as early as 2010.

The plant will be built by Power Synergy Corporation, a joint-venture between Malaysian Universal Holdings and Cambodia's MKCSS Holdings, said Ith Praing, secretary of state for the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy. He revealed US$390 million will be spent on the plant and that it will be located in Sihanoukville's Stueng Hav district near an existing kerosene plant.

"The plant is to generate 100 megawatts of power in 2010 and 200 megawatt by 2011," he said.

He added that more investment in power production could be a tonic for Cambodia's rocketing electricity costs.

"Thanks to the plant, the prices of power will decline gradually," said Ith Praing. "When the plant comes online the price of power will be cheaper than now and about the same as the cost of importing [electricity] from Vietnam."

The power will be sold to national provider Electricite du Cambodge and linked to a new extension to the national grid between Phnom Penh, Kampot and Sihanoukville planned to be complete by 2009, he said.

He said that when the project is complete Phnom Penh will no longer suffer from power shortages.

"Currently, only 180 megawatts is available in Phnom Penh, yet the demand is for 230 megawatts. This does not include the need for around 70 megawatts for areas and factories on its outskirts not yet connected to the national grid," he explained.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann said investment in power production is very valuable in Cambodia but expressed concern over possible health risks to people living near the plant.

"The burning of coal will emit poisonous fumes. It is good if the plant is built properly in compliance with clean environmental standards," he said. "On the other hand, if the plant is built with less attention to the environment due to corrupt officials, there will be damage to the health of the people in the surrounding areas."

However Ith Praing defended the plan.

"We should not worry about the environmental impact because there will be a thorough study on the potential impact on the environment. The plant will use a modern clean coal technology, and the coal will be imported from Indonesia and Australia."

Nguon Sovan is a reporter for the Mekong Times


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