Cambodia's Lower Sesan II hydropower station provides bright future for relocated villagers

Xinhua, August 31, 2021

File photo taken on Aug. 10, 2017 shows new houses built for relocated villagers in Srekor Thmey village in Sesan District of Stung Treng Province, Cambodia.(Lower Sesan II Hydropower Company/Handout via Xinhua)

"If there had not been this project, we would have still been living in hardship, using kerosene-burning lamps or batteries," Souy For, a 51-year-old father of two, said of a new power station in the country.

He noted that the key project, Cambodia's Lower Sesan II hydropower station, is bringing unprecedented development to his village.

"At the new village, because of low-priced and stable electricity, we have experienced something new such as air-cons, fans, refrigerators and televisions, which we had never had at the old village due to the lack of electricity," he said, adding that the future is very promising for them in the new Srekor Thmey village.

Souy For was among hundreds of families who voluntarily agreed to leave their old villages for relocation to new places to pave the way for the development of a 400-megawatt Lower Sesan II hydropower station in the Sesan district in Cambodia's northern Stung Treng province.

Completed in 2018, the Lower Sesan II hydropower station is a joint venture between China's Huaneng Hydrolancang International Energy, which held 51 percent of the stake, Cambodia's Royal Group with 39 percent of shares, and Vietnamese EVN International Joint Stock Company, which possessed 10 percent.

Cambodian Environment Ministry Secretary of State and Spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the project is empowering the Southeast Asian nation's socio-economic development with the capacity of 400 megawatts of clean renewable energy.

"This project is essential to ensure Cambodia's energy security and it has been providing tremendous benefit to the whole Cambodia and its people," he told Xinhua.


Foeun Heng, a 63-year-old man, was relocated to the village in 2016, beginning a new life with an 80-square-meter wooden house and five hectares of farmland provided by the local government and the project company.

He had planted cashew trees on his five-hectare land, which had earned him nearly 3,000 U.S. dollars a year from cashew nut harvest.

"Now, my family has a steady income and our living conditions are much better," Foeun Heng told Xinhua recently."In the old village, we lived from hand to mouth, depending only on rice field and fishing."

"Life is convenient here because we have good roads, drainage systems, pumping wells, cheap electricity prices, schools, health centers, pagodas and police stations," he said.

Foeun Choeun, chief of Srekor Thmey commune, said the relocated community currently has 996 families with nearly 3,000 people.

"Their living conditions have positively changed after the moved to this new place," he told Xinhua."Some families had only bikes or old motorcycles at the old village, but now, they own two or three motorcycles or a car."

He added that currently, each relocated family has a few smartphones, and it's quite different from the past when few families could even afford a cellphone.


Last month, the Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) gave the"Excellent Power Generation Enterprise Award" to the Lower Sesan II hydropower plant, commending it for continuously supplying stable and reliable clean power to Cambodia.

"During the past two years of operation, the Lower Sesan II Hydropower Project has been professional by providing reliable electricity supply to the Kingdom of Cambodia," EDC Managing Director Keo Rottanak said in the certificate of commendation.

Electricity provided by this project accounted for 18.69 percent of the total power generated in the Southeast Asian nation in 2020. As of Aug. 2, 2021, electricity generated here had exceeded 600 million kilowatt-hours this year.

"Despite disruption caused by the COVID-19, the hydropower plant has still supplied electricity to the national power grid stably because our workers have worked around the clock and they have not gone home during this time in order to curb the spread of COVID-19," Chhay Khaymeng, a public relation officer for the Lower Sesan II Hydropower Station, told Xinhua.

In July, the Fisheries Administration of Cambodia issued a certificate to this project in recognition of the company's achievements in fish protection.

Neth Pheaktra said the plant has paid high attention to not only the affected people, but also environmental protection by complying with all requirements in the Environmental Impact Assessment paper.

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