Cambodia and coal

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Cambodia and coal
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In a 2009 report the Japan Development Institute (JDI) stated that while coal reserves in Cambodia are small, they may be enough to supply coal for a 400 megawatt (MW) coal fired power plant for more than thirty years. The sum of generation capacity in the nation was about 250MW in 2005. The report goes on to say that additional energy could be obtained through imported coal from sea ports along the coast of gulf of Thailand and imported power from Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam through the national grid and the ASEAN Power Grid.[1]

In 2009, the New York Times reported that the Cambodian government’s power development plan for the next decade includes the construction of nine hydroelectric dams and nine coal plants. Once operational, the proposed plants combined would have an installed capacity of 3000 MW. The government said it favors large-scale projects as the only affordable means for large-scale electricity generation. Environmentalists favor a decentralized energy system, where solar power, micro-hydropower stations and biomass gasifiers, for example, could help satisfy demand.[2]

Proposed coal plants

In November 2009, executives from Leader Universal Holdings, a Malaysian company looking to build Cambodia’s largest coal-fired power plant, met with Cambodian government officials and environmentalists to discuss the company’s impact analysis for a proposed 100-megawatt facility. Chhith Sam Ath, the executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, said a proposed coal plant had not been properly vetted for environmental impacts, as the company’s environmental impact statement overlooked wastewater disposal and specific numbers on how much carbon dioxide the plant would emit.[2]

In December 2010, Cambodia's government granted approval for a local company to build a 700-megawatt coal-fired power plant. Cambodia International Investment Development Group Co, Ltd was awarded a 33-year contract to build and operate a $362 million power plant in the coastal province of Preah Sihanouk, the first Cambodian company to undertake such a project. The plant is scheduled to produce 270 megawatts in its first phase, due to be completed by 2015.[3]

In September 2010, Chinese company Erdos Electrical Power & Metallurgical Co. announced plans to build a 700MW coal power plant in the same province. According to Bloomberg, it is not immediately clear if the Preah Sihanouk projects are related.[3]

Proposed coal mine

The Japan Development Institute stated that coal mining was possible at two sites in a northern state near Seam Reap, to supply a proposed 400 MW plant. Based on the information provided by the coal mine licensee, the coal deposit for the two sites are 34 and 120 million tonnes respectively, for a total of over 150 million tonnes.[1]


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  1. 1.0 1.1 "Integrated Coal Mining and Power Project - smart use of Cambodian coal for domestic power improvement," Japan Development Institute, March 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Simon Marks, "Coal Plant Stirs Passions in Cambodia" New York Times, November 25, 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Cambodian company to build coal power plant", Bloomberg, December 10, 2010.

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