SCB says it has capability to develop several small projects in the country

KUCHING: Sarawak Cable Bhd (SCB), which will build its first mini hydro-power plant in North Sumatra, Indonesia, plans to develop several similar projects in Peninsular Malaysia.

Group managing director and chief executive officer Toh Chee Ching said the company had secured financing of US$15mil (RM47.5mil) from a local bank to fund the mini hydro dam project in North Sumatra.

“We can start the project anytime now. The proposed 10MW mini hydro power plant will take two years to complete,” he told StarBiz.

SCB paid RM5.5mil recently for a 65% stake in Pt Inpola Mitra Elektrindo (IME), which has been awarded a power purchase agreement (PPA) by PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) Persero to design, finance and construct a mini hydro power plant in North Sumatra.

On completion of the power plant, Toh said IME's sale of electricity to PLN for 20 years with renewable concession would contribute to SCB group's long-term revenue and profit and enhance its growth potentials.

SCB manufactures underground and overhead transmission lines, distributes power cables as well as transmission towers for the power transmission industry.

Through subsidiaries Universal Cable Sarawak and Sarwaja Timur Sdn Bhd, the group also constructs and installs power transmission lines.

SCB has proposed to acquire Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd, a power transmission line contractor.Trenergy built the power transmission line connecting the 2,400MW Bakun hydro dam and Sarawak Energy Bhd Samalaju substation to supply electricity to energy-intensive industries in Samalaju Industrial Park. It is now constructing the transmission line to link to the 944MW Murum hydro dam, which is being built.

In Peninsula Malaysia, Toh said SCB was carrying out feasibility studies on five proposed mini hydro dam projects.

“The studies for three of the projects, which have been approved by the state government concerned and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), will be completed this year.

“We are in further negotiations with state authorities and TNB on the other two projects,” he added.

According to Toh, most of the proposed mini hydro power plants which SCB planned to build have a capacity of 10MW.

The Federal Government through the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry is pushing for the development of renewable energy as the “fifth national fuel” with the implementation of the feed-in-tariff (FiT) system.

FiT works by paying a premium for electricity generated from non-fossil fuel sources, such as mini-hydro schemes, geothermal and biomass.

Toh said SCB might also consider building mini hydro power plants in Sarawak although the state had the best potential to develop big hydro dams. “We are interested in mini hydro power plant projects because of the special rates we can enjoy under the power purchase agreement. This will help to sustain the company in long term revenue and profit generation.”

He said mini hydro power plants had the lowest operational costs as compared with power plants using fossil fuels.

Besides the Murum dam, Sarawak Energy Bhd (which is SCB's single largest shareholder) has plans to develop a dozen of other hydro dams, the biggest would have a capacity of around 1,000MW.

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