KOH KONG, Cambodia: The project of the Chinese-invested Cambodia Upper Tatay Hydropower Station will increase the reliable source of clean energy in Cambodia, contributing further to socioeconomic development and poverty reduction, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet said on Thursday (Nov 30).
With a designed capacity of 150 megawatts (MWs), the project is expected to generate 527 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year when it is fully operational.
Hun Manet said the project, invested by the China National Heavy Machinery Corporation (CHMC), is a concessional contract of a 39-year build-operate-transfer (BOT), of which, four years for construction and 35 years for operations.
"I would like to thank Chinese enterprises for investing in hydropower plants, a source of clean energy, in Cambodia," he said in a speech during the river closing ceremony for the construction of the hydropower station in Thmar Baing district.
"Chinese-built hydropower plants have helped secure reliable electricity supply, stabilise electricity prices, promote economic development and improve the livelihoods of the people in Cambodia," he said.
The prime minister said energy security is essential to ensuring sustainable socioeconomic development and poverty reduction, adding that the country encouraged investment in hydropower, solar power, and wind farm projects.
"Hydropower plants are crucial to ensuring Cambodia's energy security and they have been providing enormous benefit to Cambodia and its people," he said.
"Cambodia aims to lift its share of clean energy generation capacity to 70 per cent by 2030 from the current 62 per cent," he added.
Cambodian Minister of Mines and Energy Keo Rattanak said that the construction of the Cambodia Upper Tatay Hydropower Station started in December 2022 and to date, 31.5 per cent of the whole project has been completed.
He said that the company has so far completed the construction of a road leading to the construction site, a bridge, an administration building and other necessary infrastructure.
"The construction of the Cambodia Upper Tatay Hydropower Station is to respond to the growth of population, economy, and investment," he said.
"The development of this new project also shows Cambodia's commitment towards carbon neutrality by 2050."
Rattanak said the Cambodia Upper Tatay Hydropower Station was the second project developed by the CHMC after the company invested in the development of a 246-MW Cambodia Tatay Hydropower Station here in 2010, in a 42-year BOT mode. The first project was put into operation in 2015 and has generated 858 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
Local villagers on Thursday voiced their full support for the new dam project, saying that it would bring development and reliable electricity to their remote villages.
"I'm happy to see the development of the dam here, so we will have enough electricity for consumption. We are all happy," Khut Bunthoeun, a 45-year-old farmer in Russei Chhrum village in Thmar Baing district, told Xinhua.
"With this hydropower project, our area will be developed, and I would like to thank China for coming to build the hydropower station here," he said.
Som Buntha, another 38-year-old villager, said she was excited to see the dam project in her district, saying it would provide stable electricity for locals at a cheaper price.
"I am very happy because it will provide us with roads and electricity. I hope it will bring a lot of development to our district," said the mother of four.
China is the largest investor in building hydroelectric plants in Cambodia. According to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, seven Chinese-built hydroelectric dams in the kingdom with a total capacity of 1,328 MWs have been put into operation so far. - Xinhua