Cambodia chooses coal in rush for power

(Eco Business, 4 Nov 2020) Critics say the government’s approval of two more coal power plants bucks the trend towards renewables in Southeast Asia.

From the top of a low hill, farmer Pich Sophat points to an area scarred by excavators. Remnants of a house can still be seen in the centre of land being cleared for Cambodia’s Botum Sakor coal-fired power plant.

A newly excavated ditch marking the site boundary cuts through the next village and on down to the sea in the Bay of Kompong Som. The same ditch runs through 63-year-old Sophat’s plantation, slicing a chunk off the land he has farmed for 28 years in Thmor Sor commune.

“I am not sure what is going to happen in the future,” he says. “Even if there is impact, there is nothing I can do about it. The project is going to move forward now.”

The US$1.34 billion Botum Sakor coal plant will have a generating capacity of 700 megawatts (MW) and be built by the Cambodian Royal Group and Sinosteel Equipment and Engineering Company, a subsidiary of China’s state-owned Sinosteel Corporation.

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Eco Business, 4 Nov 2020: Cambodia chooses coal in rush for power