Cambodia, 13 December 2022 – 16 December 2022
The physical site visit to Lower Sesan II Hydropower Dam in Stueng Trang Province, Cambodia, was organised by the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Cambodia and co-organized by ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) and China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute (CREEI) under the great support from National Energy Administration of China and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China from 13 December – 16 December 2022. This is one of the activities under the China-ASEAN Clean Energy Capacity Building Programme: 2022 Exchange Project on Sustainable Hydropower Development, following the online workshop on 28 November 2022.This capacity-building exchange project aims to provide a knowledge-sharing platform for clean energy development in China and among ASEAN Member States (AMS) towards national and regional energy development goals. The project also supports the implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase II (2021 – 2025), with aspirational targets of 23% of RE share in total primary energy supply and 35% in total installed capacity in the region.
Eighteen (18) representatives from five (05) AMS Renewable Energy-Sub-Sector Network (RE-SSN) Focal Points (i.e., Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, and Thailand), CREEI, ACE, and Mekong River Commission had participated in this 4-day site visit to the largest hydropower plant in Cambodia, the Resettlement Area, and the exchange workshop.
The Lower Sesan II Hydropower Plant (thereby referred to as Lower Sesan II) is located on the major tributary of the Mekong River – the Sesan River in Stung Treng province, northeastern Cambodia. The project was built by Hydro Power Lower Sesan 2 Co. Ltd., a joint company of the Royal Group of Cambodia and Hydrolancang International Energy, with a contribution of a 10% nominal stake from Vietnam Electricity (EVN). The commencement of Lower Sesan II Hydropower Plant took place in October 2013. The first turbine started its electricity production on 9 December 2017, and all units were put into operation on 21 October 2018.
With a total installed capacity of 400MW from eight 50MW bulb tubular turbine generator units and an average generation of 1.9TWh per annum, the Lower Sesan II is considered the largest hydropower project in Cambodia. The project expects to provide sufficient power supply to ensure stable operation of the national grid, release water for downstream riverways, and promote socio-economic development.
During the site visit at Lower Sesan II, Mr He Junhui–Business Representative of Hydropower Lower Sesan 2 Co., Ltd, explained to the site visit participants about the operation of the 3,293-meter natural-like fish-way constructed to navigate more than 10 fish species living in the river to migrate all year round. This is the longest nature-resembled fishpass and the largest lifting height among hydropower plants in Asia. With the monitoring system, the experts may witness the proliferation of the fish species passing through the fishway.
In addition to the site visit to the hydropower plant, the group visited Srae Kor primary school to send necessary stationery and study materials for the school and the best students, encouraging them to continue their studies. The school is under the Resettlement Plan implemented after approval by the Royal Government of Cambodia for six (06) affected villages in Sesan District, Stueng Treng Province.
Following the visit to the primary school, the group met one of the households living in the resettlement area. As established in the resettlement policy by the Cambodian government, each household that relocates to the new villages is provided with 1,000m2 of housing land, 80m2 of house building, and 5 hectares of cultivation land. Residents who suffered other losses, such as fruit trees due to the submersion of the reservoir, were also compensated.
Besides providing new schools and households, the resettlement programme also constructs other public facilities such as police stations, clinics, pagodas, commune offices, water & electricity systems, and external roads to ensure their well-being when moving to new areas. The prompt relocation and recovery plan for the affected areas has resulted in high satisfaction among the residents in the new villages. It is shown that housing conditions, infrastructures, healthcare, culture and education services in the resettlement areas have significantly improved the local livelihood.
The workshop was conducted on 16 December 2022in Strueng Treng Report to exchange policy, management, and standard system of hydropower development among the AMS Focal Points joining the programme. In the 1st opening remarks, Dr ChuonSambath Ratanak, Director of Technique and Energy Business Policy department, Alternative Senior Officer of Energy (SOE) Leader of Cambodia, expressed his sincere gratitude to all the excellencies from 5 AMS for their kind support to the organisation of the programme. He emphasised that the China-ASEAN capacity-building series had been established between ACE and CREEI since 2017 to serve the implementation of APAEC Phase II (2021 – 2025). Next, Mr Gong Heping, Deputy Director General of CREEI, began the 2nd opening speech by recalling the key takeaways from the virtual workshop on 28 November and the highlights of the site visit to Lower Sesan II Hydropower Project, then hoped the programme could provide insightful information and knowledge to AMS to accelerate the energy transition and sustainable development further. Acknowledging the contribution of the capacity building programme to the hydropower development in ASEAN and regional RE targets, in his opening remarks, Mr Septia Buntara Supendi – Manager of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Conservation of ACE, placed emphasis on the urgent need to facilitate RE deployment to achieve the 23% RE share in TPES by 2025 and highlighted that international collaboration would be the key driver for this development.
Proceeding to the next agenda is the presentations and discussion from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Thailand, and MRC to give an update about their current hydropower situation, supporting policies and mechanisms to facilitate hydropower further, and RE uptake. It is deduced that at the national level, all presented AMS have already established RE targets, specifically for hydropower, with dedicated roadmaps and strategic plans, albeit the full potential of this energy source remains untapped. To pave the way for the deployment of hydropower, accompanying policies and initiatives such as environmental assessment, financing mechanisms, standards and regulations for the lifecycle of the power plan (planning, construction, operation, and transfer/closure), or exploration of untapped potential hydropower sites have been established. Regarding the needed capacity building, the AMS representatives have agreed that the knowledge-exchange and best practices dissemination are the key drivers to further advance hydropower projects in the region. To be more specific, the needed capacity building programmes should be surrounded by the challenges embedded in hydropower development, including but not limited to: (i) technical support on feasibility studies and financial analysis on potential sites, (ii) further training on dam safety management, international standards and regulations for hydropower, (iii) power system planning, inspecting & monitoring, (iv) technical support on implementing project agreements and compliances, (v) increasing public acceptance & community training.
Virtual Workshop on China-ASEAN Clean Energy Capacity Building Programme: 2022 Exchange Project on Sustainable Hydropower Development: