Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Excellency Ambassador of the Republic of China,
Excellency HE GONG, Deputy Director of Energy Cooperation of People’s Republic of China
Excellencies National and International Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honor and a great pleasure for me to attend this inauguration ceremony of the Kirirom No.1 Hydropower Station and the 115 KV (kilovolt) transmission line from the station to Phnom Penh and the Kompong Speu distribution station, which has been reconstructed under the investment of CITEC Company from the People’s Republic of China.
As you all aware, Cambodia has gone through many years of destructive wars, during which physical infrastructure and public services have been destroyed. This includes roads, telecommunications network, electrical power system and water supply etc. In fact, the Kirirom No. 1, which we are inaugurating today, was built and operationalized in 1968 but was almost completely destroyed during the war. Electrical power is as necessarily needed as road and bridge infrastructure for daily life and as well as for some sector of the economy such as industry and the services sector. In this sense, adequate supply of cheap electricity is crucial for the development of other sectors. Therefore, economists use the volume of power consumption as an indicator for measuring the level of living standard and the degree of development of each and every region.
As the standard of living has improved and the economy is growing then the demand for power consumption will be on the increase. For instance, by the end of the 1980’s when Cambodia was subject to economic embargo, the country’s demand for electricity was only about 100 million Kwh per year, compared to today’s demand of 500 million Kwh per year, reflecting a fivefold increase in demand over the last 10 years. To keep up with this rapid growth and development, the Royal Government’s short- and long-term strategy in the electricity sector is as follows:
First, develop a sustainable, reliable and cheap power supply in the country, complemented by power imports from neighboring countries in order to meet domestic demand, and
Second, develop and expend transmission and distribution network connecting urban centers and remote areas with a nation-wide electrification project.
At present, the power supply network in Cambodia consists of small stand-alone power units. We have yet to build a nation-wide power transmission network like in developed countries. That is why the tariff of electrical power in Cambodia is high and power supply is inadequate. Apart from Phnom Penh and a few provincial towns with adequate power supply, in a big part of the country power supply has been provided by private contractors operating small generators offering excessive tariff of 1,000 to 1,500 CRs per Kwh. In this context, I wish to stress that our government’s goal in the power sector is not only to provide adequate and reliable supply of power to Phnom Penh, but also expand the existing transmission line to provide the outskirts of the capital, provincial towns and remote rural areas of Cambodia with reliable, high-quality and reasonably priced electrical power. The Royal Government considers expanding power supply network to the provincial towns and remote outback area as an important means to reduce the gap between urban and rural areas. This will positively contribute to the implementation of the government’s poverty reduction strategy. To this end, the government has successfully developed and launched a number of projects, such as the Rehabilitation and Expansion of Power Transmission Network in Kien Svay, Koki and Prek Pra Project under the World Bank credit and the Rehabilitation and Expansion of Power Transmission Network in Takhmao, Chroychangwar, Pochentong, Russei Keo and Prek Phnov under the Japanese grant. Today under the private investment of CITEC we are launching a new power transmission line connecting the Kirirom Hydro Power Station to Kompong Speu provincial town, a number of areas along Route 4 and Phnom Penh, including a sub-station in Kompong Speu. H.E. Suy Sem’s report states that another power transmission project in the Kompong Speu provincial town and some areas along Route 4 will be auctioned off to be implemented in the near future. Hence, shortly the Kompong Speu provincial town and some areas along Route 4 will be connected to the nation-wide transmission line of Phnom Penh, meaning that they can get power from Phnom Penh as well.
Moreover, the government is pushing for the launch of another project which has gone through a feasibility study within the framework of a cooperation with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Japan and Germany in order to integrate the provincial towns and some regions in the South of Cambodia into the mainstream of the Phnom Penh nation-wide power supply network. This project consists of the following:
First, a project to establish a southern national power transmission network linking the Phnom Penh power transmission line to the provinces of Kandal, Kompong Speu, Takeo, Kampot, Sihanoukville and Vietnam’s transmission line.
Second, a project to rehabilitate power transmission lines in the southern provincial towns.
Third, the Rural Electrification Project.
Moreover, we have taken a strenuous effort to develop power production in the Northwest of Cambodia, including Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Battambang. In this regard, on 23 May H.E. Hor Namhong, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and His Excellency Ambassador of Japan signed a protocol on the a 15.7 million Japanese grant aid for the construction of a new 10 MW power station in Siem Reap. Apart from this, we are considering of permitting private investment in the installation of a transmission line linking Siem Reap to Banteay Meanchey and Battambang to allow for the imports of electrical power from Thailand to meet domestic demand.
I take this opportunity to sincerely commend the management and officials of the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy and the Electricité du Cambodge for making considerable efforts and contributing physical and mental energy to implement government policies in the priority areas and make more new achievements. I deeply thank the World Bank, the ADB, bilateral donors and other international financial institutions for their substantial contribution to power development in Cambodia in order to promote development and poverty reduction.
As H.E. Suy Sem has stated Cambodia is endowed with potential sources of hydro power. Some parts of Cambodia are suitable for the development of hydro power stations. However, at present power production in Cambodia is based on imported diesel and fuel oil. It means that the power tariff in Cambodia depends on imported petroleum products and transportation costs. Therefore, hydro power development in Cambodia is not only designed to source out cheap and reliable power, but also to get rid of imported petroleum products for power production and the fluctuations of oil prices in the world market.
At the same time, I have noticed that we could have better performance in the development and utilization of hydro power potentials inside the country if government ministries and relevant agencies work closely and coordinate with each other. In this sense, I urge the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, the Ministry of Environment and the local authorities at all levels to cooperate to collect and record data and information for conducting feasibility studies and costing investment projects in priority areas, which have the potential for the construction of hydro power stations. Moreover, we should encourage the private sector to take part in the conduct of feasibility studies in the areas that they are interested in and can undertake such investment. Otherwise, government ministries should discuss with bilateral donors and development banks to seek grants for making feasibility studies available in areas where there is not interest from the private sector. Indeed, we should bear in mind that the development of hydro power energy also has an environmental impact. That is why it is important to conduct a rigorous environmental impact assessment (EIA) to ensure sustainable development.
Allow me to draw your attention to another important aspect. As usual, the establishment of hydro power stations creates the opportunity for the development of tourist sites, aquaculture and irrigation. At the Kirirom I station there is a dam and a reservoir on the top of the mountain, which is suitable for aquaculture. Moreover, this area is surrounded by pristine forests offering splendid scenery and is linked to Route 4. The availability of water in all seasons is crucial for irrigating agricultural crops along Route 4. Realizing such tremendous potentials, I urge the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, the Ministry of Environment and relevant local authorities to discuss and work closely with CITEC to use to the fullest the geographical advantages of the Kirirom Hydro Power Station.
CITEC’s investment in the construction of the Kirirom I Hydro Power Station, the power transmission line and the Kompong Speu substation testifies to the fact that private investors have confidence in the situation and the prospects for Cambodia’s development, since such a hydro power station is a long-term investment to develop a priority area of power development in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The most important aspect of CITEC’s investment is to implement an investment agreement with responsibility and follow the contract schedule allowing for the construction of the hydro power station, a transmission line and the Kompong Speu sub-station one year ahead of the schedule. This early completion is important and beneficial for Cambodia, which is on the path of economic take-off. I think that this success is the result of hard work of the management, staff members and workers of the company, good cooperation with relevant government ministries and agencies, understanding and full support of the local authorities at all levels and the people living in this area. I sincerely commend CITEC, relevant government ministries, local authorities at all levels and the people living in this area for making this possible, for their support and cooperation, which are crucial for the completion of this project ahead of schedule. I wish that such responsible investment, good cooperation and early completion of project become a good example for other investment projects in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
In this context, once again on behalf of the Royal Government, the people of Cambodia and on my own behalf I would like to express our profound gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for supporting this important investment allowing for perfect implementation of the investment agreement ahead of time. I encourage CITEC to consider expanding its investment here and appeal our friendly PRC government to continue its necessary support for CITEC’s endeavors in contributing to Cambodia’s investment.
I take this opportunity to appeal to the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Energy, the Electricity Authority of Cambodia, CITEC, EDC and the local authorities to continue such cooperation in order to ensure smooth operations of the Kirirom Hydro Power Station and safe and sustainable transmission of power to the users. I appeal to our compatriots to take good care of this important achievement for our long-term benefit.
In conclusion, I wish to extend to all venerable Buddhist monks, Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen and compatriots with the five gems of Buddha’s wishes. I announce the official launch of the Kirirom I Hydropower Station, the power transmission line and the Kompong Speu sub-station constructed under the investment of CITEC. I thank you for your kind attention.
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