Sarawak Energy unveils battery energy storage plan


KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd has embarked on a pilot 60 megawatt (MW) battery energy storage system (BESS) at its Sejingkat coal fired power plant here.

According to Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, the BESS will provide critical grid services, such as peak shaving as well as spinning reserve and optimise generation assets to minimise the carbon emissions associated with traditional power generation.

“It will also help mitigate the intermittency issues associated with variable renewable energy, such as solar, making them more viable,” he said when opening the “Sustainable and Renewable Communities Forum 3.0” here recently.

The forum was on theme “ Regional Net Zero & Sustainable Communities through Renewable Energy Development and Interconnections.”

Abang Johari said Sarawak Energy has the potential to plant up to 1,500MW of solar capacity based on its generation and network capacity until 2031.

He said the state-owned power utility’s first large-scale 50MW floating solar farm at the Batang Ai hydroelectric dam in Sri Aman Division is expected to be commissioned next year. This will be Sarawak’s first major generation hybrid between hydro and solar.

He said once the floating solar farm project, which is undertaken by China’s Trina Solar Co Ltd, is commissioned, it is expected to offset around 52 kilo tonnes of carbon emissions annually, thereby contributing to the further decarbonisation of the state grid.

Hydropower he said has helped to reduce the carbon emission intensify of the state power system by 73% between 2010 and 2021,contributing to Sarawak’s net-zero and sustainability commitments.

According to the premier, Sarawak Energy has been tasked to accomplish three major targets over the next decade. They are to:

> Maintain at least 60% renewable energy capacity mix by 2030, including solar and other alternative energy sources,

> Reduce CO2 emissions by 600,000 tonnes per annum by electrifying Sarawak’s mobility fleet by 2023, and

> Achieve more than 15% income from foreign markets, including the pursuit of power exports.

Sarawak has been exporting electricity to West Kalimantan, Indonesia since 2016, and this was the first step towards realising the Borneo Power Grid.

Abang Johari said discussions and agreements regarding other power interconnections are progressing well with Sabah and Brunei.

Under the power exchange and interconnection agreements Sarawak Energy signed with its counterpart in Sabah, it will involve the initial export of 30MW to 50MW over a 15-year period.

Sarawak Energy is now working on a similar power exchange agreement with Brunei for electricity export.

“We are also venturing beyond the Borneo Power Grid as part of the regional Asean Power Grid. Sarawak Energy, together with their partners Sembcorp International and Singapore Power Group have completed comprehensive technical studies and are well advanced in the commercial negotiations for an interconnection with Singapore, with direct undersea power cables linking Sarawak and Singapore,” said Abang Johari.

Sarawak Energy currently owns three hydroelectric dams – Bakun (2,400MW), Murum (944MW) and Batang Ai (108MW), bringing to total 3,452MW under Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.

Under construction now is the 1,285MW Balah hydro dam.

“These plants are a vital part of our efforts to build a modern power system and state power grid for Sarawak,” he said.

Abang Johari said a study commissioned in the 1960s revealed 20,000MW of identified hydro potential in Sarawak and further studies had indicated that Sarawak has 12 prospective hydropower sites (including Bakun, Murum and Baleh) with potential to generate 8,000MW.

“Should we develop the remaining nine (hydro) sites, we expect only 2% of our total land area will be affected by the created reservoirs.

“Sarawak can play a central role in progressing regional energy transition by sharing our hydropower based resources with regional neighbours via interconnections. Collectively, the projects are vital building blocks for the Asean Power Grid and in pursuing them,I believe Sarawak can become the battery of Asean, helping to link power grids across the region,” he added.

“Sarawak offers the lowest average unsubsidiesed tariffs in South-East Asia with an added competitive advantage: our electricity is primarily green.”

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