Saturday, September 5, 2009

China invests $80 mln in Cambodian power sector

PHNOM PENH, Sept 4 - Cambodia has signed an $80 million deal with China National Heavy Machinery Co to build a power transmission network in areas around the capital where factories have mushroomed in the past decade, a power official said on Friday.

Keo Rattanak, director general of Cambodia's Electricite du Cambodge, said the project, which would start next year and take three years to complete, was part of government efforts to address complaints by foreign investors.

The loop line transmission network will bring in electricity from various sources, including hydropower plants built by China in the northwest and southwest provinces, as well as a $160 million, Malaysian-funded coal-fired power plant in the south, he said.

Foreign investors, many of them with factories making garments on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, have complained about the high cost and unreliability of utilities.

In response, the government wants to attract $3 billion of foreign investment to build six hydropower plants and a coal power plant by 2018.

Cambodia currently produces an estimated 300 MW of electricity and aims to meet current demand of about 500 MW with the help of supplies from neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam.

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