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Sarawak Energy needs to raise generating capacity to 7,000 MW


By JACK WONG

KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) needs to raise its total power generating capacity to 7,000 MW by 2025 to meet the anticipated demand from new energy-intensive industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) phase 2 development, a report says.

The load demand for SCORE is expected to grow to 2,550 MW by 2020 and could potentially reach 3,700 MW by 2025. Power for export customers is estimated at 430 MW by 2025 from 230 MW.

SEB has agreed to commence exporting power to west Kalimantan, Indonesia next year. Sarawak’s organic demand is projected to go up to 1,450 MW by 2020 and 1,950 MW by 2025.

“The total maximum demand is, therefore, 4,380 MW for 2020 which shall be met by power sources from Bakun, Murum and Balingian.

“But this will not be sufficient to meet the demand as there is also a necessity for a reserve capacity of 600 MW to ensure power network security. Thus, there is the need to progress to SCORE phase 2 development,” according to a social and environmental impact assessment (SEIA) final report on the Baleh hydro-electric dam project.

Sarawak currently has a total installed capacity of 2,010 MW. The 2,400 MW Bakun hydro-electric dam owned by the Federal Government is yet to be fully operational while the SEB-owned 944 MW Murum dam is expected to generate first power later this year.

The Baleh dam project, in addition to other proposed dams and power stations, would have to be developed to increase SEB’s total generating capacity to 7,000 MW in the next decade.

“Readiness of sufficient supply of electricity in Sarawak is essential to keep the state attractive and competitive to foreign investors, particularly industrial development made available by SCORE,” added the report by SEIA consultant Chemsain Konsultant Sdn Bhd.

Press Metal Bhd ’s aluminium smelter was the first energy-intensive industry in SCORE which commenced operations last year. Also in operation now is Tokuyama’s polycrystaline silicon plant. The third expected to be commissioned soon is OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd’s ferro alloy smelting plant, followed by Pertama’s ferro alloy smelter.

The proposed Baleh dam is a 188m-high concrete faced rockfill dam, located on Baleh River, some 105km upstream of Kapit town in central Sarawak. With an installed capacity of 1,285 MW, the Baleh dam is projected to generate 8.076 Gwh of electricity per year on average and of which 941 MW is firm energy.

“The Baleh facility will be connected to SEB’s core 500 kV grid by means of a 500 kV double circuit transmission line.

“The new transmission line will be inter-connected with SEB’s 500 kV system at a new 500/275 kV substation to be constructed at Tada. Land acquisition for this proposed substation is currently in progress,” according to the SEIA report.

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