December 7, 2011

Cambodia's largest hydroelectric dam begins operation


The front of the Kamchay dam
KAMPOT, Cambodia, Dec. 7 -- Cambodia's largest dam, Kamchay hydroelectric dam, with a capacity of 193 megawatt, was officially put into operations on Wednesday.

The inauguration ceremony was held at the Kamchay hydroelectric dam site in Kampot province, some 150 kilometers southwest of Phnom Penh. It was presided over by Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Pan Guangxue, and was also attended by some 2,000 government officials, foreign diplomats and locals.

The dam is invested and constructed by the Sinohydro Corporation, the China's leading dam builder. According to the firm's press release, the construction of the dam began in September 2007 and completed in late November, costing 280 million U.S. dollars.

The project is a concessional contract of a 44-year build- operate-transfer (BOT) with Cambodian government. Of the period, 4 years for construction and 40 years for operations, it said, adding the electricity is sold to the state-owned Electricity of Cambodia.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Hun Sen said that the hydropower dam would help lower Cambodia's electricity cost and reduce the reliance on oil-fueled electricity.

"The electric power from the dam is very important to meet the needs of national development," he said. "We profoundly thank the government of China for encouraging Chinese investors to Cambodia and investing on the right track Cambodia needs. "

He said with cheaper electricity cost and improving roads and trade facilitation, in the future, Cambodia would be able to have its products competed with those of other countries.

The electricity from the dam will be supplied to Kampot, Phnom Penh, and Preah Sihanouk province.

Currently, Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, has 290 megawatts of electricity capacity, but its full demand is up to 350 megawatts.

"The dam will greatly relieve Phnom Penh's power shortage," said the premier.

Meanwhile, the Sinohydro Corporation's General Manager Sun Hongshui said the construction had completed successfully thanks to the high attentions from the governments of Cambodia and China; and tireless efforts by the firm's employees.

"The Kamchay hydropower dam will meet the current shortage of electricity in Cambodia," he said. "With the power supply from the dam, we believe that the cost of electricity in the country goes cheaper and it will encourage more and more investors to Cambodia."

The Kamchay hydroelectric dam is one of the five dams with a total capacity of 915 megawatts invested by China in the total investments of 1.6 billion U.S. dollars.

The other four dams being constructed are Kirirom III hydropower dam with the capacity of 18 megawatts, Tatay river hydropower dam with the capacity of 246 megawatts, Atay hydropower dam of 120 megawatts and Russei Chrum Krom with the capacity of 338 megawatts, according to the reports of Cambodia's Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy.

All the projects are expected to complete the construction by 2015.


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