Tenders soon for Sarawak’s Murum Dam

KUCHING: Sarawak will call for tenders for its second hydroelectric dam project within two months, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

He said the proposed Murum Dam in the Upper Rejang basin in central Sarawak could generate nearly 1,000MW.

“It will make up for energy from Bakun Dam transmitted to Peninsular Malaysia,” he said at the signing of an agreement between Sarawak Energy Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) here on Wednesday night.

Under the agreement, Sarawak Energy will sell electricity to TNB from 2017.

The Bakun Dam, expected to be ready by early 2010, will generate up to 2,400MW. A substantial amount of the power will be exported to the peninsula.

The Murum Dam is expected to be completed in five years with its first turbine beginning operations in early 2012.

Taib said that Sarawak Energy would build smaller hydro dams in the northern region to supply power to neighbouring Sabah.

He said the state would also develop its abundant coal resources to generate power and exploit coal deposits in Nanga Merit, Kapit Division.

Sarawak has more than one billion tonnes of coal reserves, including 550 million tonnes in Mukah-Balingian and 470 million tonnes in the Merit-Pila region in Kapit.

Sarawak Energy is now constructing a 270MW coal-fired station in Balingian.

Taib said that hydro energy and coal would give the state a good mix in power generation.

Sarawak Energy is now producing only 108MW of hydro power through the Batang Ai Dam in Sri Aman Division. It expects this to go up to 5,000MW by 2015 and 9,000MW by 2020.

Taib said, besides supplying some 8,000MW to the peninsula by 2030, the state needed to expand its power generation capacity to meet an expected requirement of between 2,000MW and 3,000MW from industries.

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