Sarawak plans five more hydro dams

  • Business
  • Thursday, 18 Feb 2010

KUCHING: Sarawak plans to build five more hydro-electric dams, with a combined power capacity of more than 3,000 MW, over the next five years.

Technical studies on the proposed dams, to be undertaken by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB), had been completed, said Sarawak Public Utilities Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan on Wednesday.

The five new dams are Balleh (1,400 MW) and Pelagus (410 MW) – both in the upper Rejang River basin in central Sarawak where the Bakun and Murum dams are sited – and Baram (1,200 MW), Limbang (245 MW) and Lawas (100 MW), all in northern Sarawak.

Awang Tengah, however, declined to say which of the five projects would be implemented first, or their estimated development costs.

He said SEB, which was recently delisted from Bursa Malaysia after it was taken private by the Sarawak government, planned to increase its installed hydro-power capacity to 6,000 MW by 2015.

“The Murum dam project (944 MW) is progressing well and it will be completed by 2013,’’ he told reporters after the handing over of the Final report for the feasibility study on the Sarawak-Brunei power interconnection system to the Brunei government in Kuching.

The Bakun dam, developed and managed by Minister of Finance Incowned Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, will have an installed capacity of 2,400 MW.

It is expected to start producing the first 300 MW late this year, and to be fully operational by next year.

Awang Tengah said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agreed that electricity from Bakun be dedicated for use by energy-intensive industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

He said what was important now was for Sarawak Hidro to sell power from Bakun to SEB for use by industries in Score.

“There are now so many takers lining up for power from Bakun,’’ he said

Two aluminium smelters planned in Score are expected to be the biggest taker of power produced by Bakun.

The two projects will be jointly undertaken by GIIG Holdings Sdn Bhd-Aluminium Corp of China Ltd and Rio Tinto Alcan-CAHYA MATA SARAWAK BHD.

Awang Tengah said Sarawak would plan for its power generation capacity if submarine cables were to be built as planned to transmit electricity to Peninsular Malaysia.

The first of the proposed submarine cables is expected to be completed only in 2016 and the second a year later, Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkfile Osman said recently.

Each of the cables 0will transmit 800 MW. Under a heads of agreement signed by SEB and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) in 2008, SEB is only expected to start exporting its first 3,000 MW to TNB from 2017 to 2020, and sell an additional 5,000 MW to TNB from 2021 to 2030.

Besides hydro power, Awang Tengah said SEB would construct a new 300-MW coal-fired power station in Balingian, Mukah division within Score.

SEB now operates coalfired stations in Balingian and Sejingkat, Kuching with a combined installed capacity of 470 MW.

Related Stories: SEB plans Miri-Brunei power transmission line Chan allays concerns over Bakun power for peninsula Sarawak smelters raise uncertainty on Bakun cable project US$1b JV smelter for Sarawak Power transmission to cater for smelter project Sarawak to decide on power tariffs by Q1 2010 Bakun dam may begin to supply power in 2010

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