Sarawak Energy to export electricity to Sabah

solar power system installed by Sarawak Energy Bhd in Lio Mato in interior northern Sarawak. SEB pic

KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) is inching closer to exporting electricity to neighbouring Sabah with the recent signing of a term sheet agreement with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Sharbini Suhaili (pic below)said the term sheet sets out the intention for the Sarawak-Sabah power interconnection project to be completed by May 31,2023.

The plan is to export between 30MW and 50MW for 15 years to Sabah, he said during the annual SEB business update virtual session on Dec 16.

State-owned SEB has been exporting electricity to West Kalimantan, Indonesia since 2016 and is currently supplying up to 300MW to the province.

Sarbini said talks to export electricity to Brunei had been fruitful and ongoing.

“This is a positive development which brings us closer to realising the Borneo Grid and subsequently (for Sarawak) to grow into a regional powerhouse, ” he added.

According to Sharbini, about 70% of SEB’s power generation mix is from renewable hydro resources from three dams. These are the Bakun dam (2,400MW), Murum dam (944MW) and Batang Ai dam (108MW), providing a total installed capacity of 3,452MW.

The hydro power generation capacity will be further boosted when the 1,285MW Baleh hydro dam project is completed in 2026. The project is progressing well, with the completion of the river diversion tunnel recently that facilitates the construction works for the main dam.

The Balun, Murum and Baleh dams are all located in the upper Rajang Basin in Central Sarawak.

Sharbini said the abundance of hydro power resources being harnessed has enabled Sarawak to attract foreign investments in energy-intensive industries in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Such industries currently being powered by the renewable energy include aluminium and ferroalloy smelting plants in Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu.

With hydro as the dominant power generation mix, Sharbini said this has enabled Sarawak to successfully reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the main power grid by about 77% since 2009.

Sharbini said SEB is developing a 50MW floating solar system at the Batang Ai hydro dam reservoir in Sri Aman Division to further raise the proportion of renewable energy in its generation mix, which include coal and gas. He said SEB is also exploring the production and application of green hydrogen as part of its green energy agenda.

On SEB’s Northern Agenda, Sharbini said major project works is currently being carried out to connect Limbang and Lawas to the state grid. Implemented in phases, this project is scheduled for completion in 2023 that would extend the main grid across the length of Sarawak and to facilitate the potential power export to Brunei and Sabah.

On rural electrification, he said SEB is working to achieve 100% coverage by 2025. It is expected to reach 97% in six months.

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