Ambitious power generation target


. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Sarawak has set an ambitious target of raising its power generating capacity to 10 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 to meet the robust demand for green energy by new industries like those to be set up in the Sarawak Energy Hub in Bintulu.

The generation of up to 10GW of electricity will primarily come from renewable sources such as hydropower, solar, gas turbines and biomass energy, according to Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

State-owned Sarawak Energy Bhd’s (SEB) energy generation capacity has grown more than four-folds since 2010, reaching 5,745 megawatts (MW) in 2023. SEB’s generation mix is primarily renewable hydropower complemented by indigenous coal and gas generation for security of supply.

The renewable energy (RE) comes from the 2,400MW Bakun hydroelectric dam, 944MW Murum dam and 108MW Batang Ai dam. With the third major hydro project – 1,285MW Baleh dam – scheduled to be operational in 2028, Sarawak’s total hydropower capacity will be increased to 4,737MW, according to SEB.

Abang Johari said SEB is working to increase the use of solar energy to comprise 12% of its total capacity mix by 2030.

Energy-intensive industries, like aluminium and ferroally smelters in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu, are currently the biggest consumers of renewable hydropower.

“Sarawak’s commitment to sustainability and RE remains unwavering. It has also facilitated the development of bilateral transmission interconnections with South-East Asian neighbours.

“We are sharing our renewable resources and accelerating regional energy transition, aligning with our ambitions to become a regional RE powerhouse,” said Abang Johari in a keynote address at the “Future Energy Asia Strategic Summit 2024” in Bangkok, Thailand.

Sarawak has been exporting electricity to Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia,and plans are underway to sell power to Sabah and Brunei. Sarawak will also export RE to Singapore via undersea cables to be built.

Abang Johari said the huge demand for green energy in Sarawak is exemplified by the power needs of up to 1.3GW for the Sarawak Energy Hub, which is being developed in Bintulu.

The H2biscus hydrogen project, which forms part of the Sarawak Energy Hub, is a collaboration between state-owned SEDC Sarawak (a subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Corp) and South Korean partners – Samsung Engineering, Lotte Chemical Corp and Korean National Oil Co.

A joint development agreement for the H2biscus project was signed in Seoul on May 22, 2024, during which Abang Johari was briefed on the project by Samsung Engineering officials.

With the agreement, Samsung Engineering will execute the front-end engineering design for the green hydrogen plant with an annual capacity of 150,000 tonnes and a green ammonia conversion plant with an annual capacity of 850,000 tonnes.

H2biscus aims to produce green and blue hydrogen by harnessing hydropower and natural gas. A significant portion of the hydrogen produced will be converted into ammonia for export.

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