Kampot: Kamchay hydroelectric dam operational.

Kamchay hydroelectric dam, Cambodia’s largest dam so far, with a capacity of 193 megawatt, was officially put into operations this week.

Kamchay Dam, Kampot Province, Cambodia

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.

Kamchay: built by China.

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.

44 year BOT Concession.

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.

Improved Competitiveness.

With cheaper electricity cost and improving roads and trade facilitation, in the future, Cambodia will 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.

Power shortage in Phnom Penh.

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

Kamchay Dam, Cambodia

No development without impact?

Prime Minister Hun Sen  brushed aside the concerns of local and foreign activists, saying the environmental impact of the dam had been “well studied” and it would help bring down electricity prices in areas including the capital Phnom Penh.

“There is no development that will not impact on the environment,” he said in a speech broadcast on national radio, urging “extreme environmentalists” to “look at the whole forest rather than each single tree”.

More dams  in construction.

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.

Source: Xinhua/Khamerlogue

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