Cambodia seeks billions of dollars for 14 hydropower dams

May 4th, 2008 - 5:34 pm ICT by admin  

Phnom Penh, May 4 (DPA) Cambodia is seeking private investment to build 14 new hydropower dams worth more than $3.2 billion, according to a government report obtained Sunday. The report titled Prime Investment Information in Cambodia details potential private investment opportunities around the country, including hydroelectric dam construction.

According to the report, 14 dams of various sizes and capacities are estimated to be able to generate a minimum of 1,850 megawatts.

Four are also earmarked to provide irrigation, although all but two of the 14 are currently only at desk study stage.

Only one of the proposed sites is on the Mekong river at Sambor Falls in eastern Kratie province, according to the report, and the project there is listed in two stages.

But a government source said despite the tremendous potential of the Sambor dam, it may only go ahead if northern neighbour Laos builds controversial dams higher upstream which Cambodia fears will destroy its fisheries and leave it nothing to lose.

The report estimates Kratie, where the Mekong runs strong, is currently producing a capacity of 1,570 kilovolt-amperes but could potentially have a capacity of 2,290 with dams in place.

The rest of the proposed dams are dotted along various tributaries around the country.

Cambodia’s rapid economic growth has caused it to outstrip its electricity supply, with rolling brown outs common in the capital, and many rural areas without power altogether.

The country is seeking ways to generate its own power and minimise the amount it has to buy from neighbouring countries.

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