KUCHING: Downstream manufacturers in Peninsular Malaysia will be able to source some of the semi-finished products, like silicon ingots, from energy-intensive industries to be set up in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said Malacca, for example, could import solar wafers from MEMC Electronics Materials Inc, which is now building a plant here to produce the wafers.
The plant, which is expected to be commissioned early next year, will have an initial annual production of 600 megawatts equivalent of solar energy.
Taib said by importing from Sarawak instead of overseas suppliers, industries in Malacca and Penang would be assured of supply while helping to keep the money within the country.
“So there will be more (industrial) linkages between Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak,” he said when launching the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) Open Day here yesterday.
Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam had said recently that as Sun Power Corp, a solar cell manufacturer in the United States, was investing in a fabrication plant in Alor Gajah, it could source solar wafers from Sarawak.
Taib said investors keen to set up energy-intensive industries, like aluminium smelters, steel, manganese and polysilicon,would only proceed once they had secured a firm power supply for their plants.
He said these investors were willing to set up their plants in Score at a “certain price” for electricity and make Sarawak the launching pad to serve the markets in China and India. However, he did not say at what price these investors were willing to pay.
Taib said the setup of the energy-intensive industries could spur the development of cluster and smaller industries from 2015.
Score will get its power supply from the 2,400 MW Bakun dam, which is expected to start generating electricity in nine months.
State-owned Sarawak Energy Bhd is now in talks with the Federal Government to take over the ownership of Bakun dam from Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd. Sarawak Hidro is wholly-owned by Minister of Finance Inc.
Taib said due to the problems faced by the Bakun dam project that had delayed its implementation, the Sarawak government had planned to develop a series of hydro dams, including the 944 MW Murum dam currently under construction.
He said feasibility studies on the proposed Pelagus dam (900 MW) and Baram dam (1,000 MW) would be completed in two years. Smaller hydro dams in northern Sarawak will be built to export energy to neighouring Brunei and Sabah.
Taib said the development of Score was planned for up to 2030 instead of 2020 in order to unleash its full potentials.
The corridor development is expected to create 1.6 million jobs, most of which are expected from 2020.
He said Sarawak would convert 20% of its permanent forest areas into tree plantations with high-yielding timber species to supply raw materials to the downstream timber industries.
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