A simple feasibility analysis shows the Mekong River in Cambodia would benefit from floating solar plants coupled with storage, rather than more hydro.
Cambodia’s Great Lake, the Tonle Sap and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta are suffering harmful impacts from the suppression of the Mekong River’s annual flood pulse – a consequence of the operation of hydroelectric dams far upstream in Yunnan, China, and on tributaries of the Mekong in Laos and Vietnam. Many more dams are planned. If they are built, Cambodia will see the end of the reverse flow that supports the enormously fecund flood pulse at the Tonle Sap. Subsequently, in the dry season, Vietnam will be starved of the fresh water that supports its delta ecosystem and food security.
This brief proposes an alternative approach: A floating solar power system on the Tonle Sap, built on a scale that will satisfy Cambodia’s power needs at lower cost.