KOTA KINABALU: Green energy in Malaysia will receive a boost when the country’s first geothermal plant in Sabah’s east coast starts producing electricity in two years.
The geothermal power plant in Tawau is being developed by Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd, and is projected to add 30MW to Sabah’s grid by the second quarter of 2016, a statement from the company yesterday reported.
Tawau Green Energy is headed by Lebanese managing director Ramzi Raad, 52, who has 26 years’ experience in heavy equipment, earth-moving machinery as well as power-generation equipment.
The first phase will include digging exploratory wells to establish the parameters and potential of the geothermal reservoir.
Output from the plant will be sold to Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd via 132KV interconnections to the grid under a 21-year renewable energy power purchase agreement.
More good news is that the project is expected to offset some 200,000 tonnes of CO² emissions annually.
The potential of the Apas Kiri area, about 540km from here by road, was discovered between December 2008 and January 2009 after the Minerals and Geoscience Department conducted geoelectric surveys there.
The survey covered an area of about 50 sq km around the Apas Kiri geothermal surface manifestations, and it was determined that there was a sub surface hot water field measuring about 12 sq km.
Calculations estimated that the area had a potential to host a geothermal power plant with the capacity of 67MW at a depth of 2.5km.
Tawau Green Energy also said it would create a resource centre that would bring stakeholders and specialists in the geothermal energy industry together to provide capacity building for this new industry in Malaysia. The resource centre is aimed at providing training and short courses in applied geosciences, geothermal exploration, geothermal drilling, as well as steamfield and power plant design and operations.
Apart from that, the resource centre also functions as a platform for local universities to collaborate with foreign institutions in the field of geothermal energy.
Tawau Green Energy had also signed several MoUs with state agencies and institutions such as the University of Auckland as well as Universiti Malaysia Sabah to cement its ambition.
The company is embarking on collaborations with the Iceland-based United Nations University’s Geothermal Training Programme and Institut Teknologi Bandung of Indonesia.