South-South Technology Transfer of Low-Carbon Innovation: Large Chinese Hydropower Dams in Cambodia

Frauke Urban, Giuseppina Siciliano, Kim Sour, Pich Dara Lonn, May Tan-Mullins, Grace Mang

    Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)
    20 Downloads (Pure)


    Large dams have been controversially debated for decades due to their large-scale and often irreversible social and environmental impacts. In the pursuit of low-carbon energy and climate change mitigation, hydropower is experiencing a new renaissance. At the forefront of this renaissance are Chinese actors as the world's largest hydropower dam-builders. This paper aims to discuss the role of South-South technology transfer of low-carbon energy innovation and its opportunities and barriers by using a case study of the first large Chinese-funded and Chinese-built dam in Cambodia. Using the Kamchay Dam as an example, the paper finds that technology transfer can only be fully successful when host governments and organizations have the capacity to absorb new technologies. The paper also finds that technology transfer in the dam sector needs to go beyond hardware and focus more on the transfer of expertise, skills and knowledge to enable long-term sustainable development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)232-244
    Number of pages13
    JournalSustainable Development
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


    • Cambodia
    • China
    • Dams
    • Global South
    • Hydropower
    • Low-carbon innovation
    • Technology cooperation
    • Technology transfer

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Development


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