KUCHING: Sarawak will have to develop the proposed Murum hydroelectric dam project to support energy intensive industries, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said.
He said this would be more so if power generated by the Bakun dam was to be entirely supplied to the peninsula.
The 900MW Murum dam would enable the setting up of two proposed aluminium smelter plants in Bintulu over the next three years.
The project has been proposed for the upper reaches of the Rejang River in central Sarawak.
The Bakun dam, which is under construction and scheduled for operations in 2011, can generate up to 2,400MW.
Taib said the state was now negotiating the setting up of a smaller aluminium plant that would require only 90MW to operate.
“We have to increase the installed power capacity by 55% (to cater for more industries and other users),” he added when launching Sarawak Enterprise Corporation Bhd’s (SECB) re-branding exercise at a hotel here on Saturday night.
SECB, majority-owned by the state government, has been renamed Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB).
Taib said Sarawak presently had a good state grid, but added that transmission should be extended to cover towns like Kapit.
He wanted SEB to find ways to convert its diesel-powered generating stations to use cheaper fuels like coal.
SEB group managing director Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain said the proposed 270MW coal-fired power plant in Mukah was expected to begin operations by next year.
“We will also increase the capacity of our gas power generation in Bintulu by 106MW, with construction of a combined cycle plant expected to be operational in early 2009,” he added.
Aziz said SEB’s target was to generate power through hydro and coal-fired plants with a total 6,800MW capacity over the next 14 years.