Dams spell catastrophe for Cambodia, but an alternative exists

The deadly dam collapse in Laos in late July brings Cambodia’s own grand plans for hydropower into question – and thrusts solar power to the forefront of the Kingdom’s quest for energy independence.

Twelve years ago, a Chinese state-owned company signed an agreement with the government of Cambodia to undertake a monumental feat of engineering: the Sambor Dam, the largest hydroelectric dam on the Lower Mekong Basin. The 2,600MW behemoth, double the size of any other dam planned or constructed on the Lower Mekong, would stretch for 18km, trailing an 82km-long reservoir behind it.

The company ultimately dropped the plan in 2011 in the wake of protests from local villagers who didn’t want to see 100km of their river, home to their fisheries and livelihood, disappear. “If the river is blocked by the dam, it will be difficult for us to catch fish,” a resident of Thmey village told the South China Morning Post at the time.

Read the full story: http://sea-globe.com/an-alternative-to-catastrophic-hydropower-in-cambodia/

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