KUCHING: Sarawak will call for tenders for its second major 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 (Murum dam) will make up for the energy from the Bakun dam which will be transmitted to Peninsular Malaysia,'' he added at the signing of an agreement between Sarawak Energy Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd at Kuching Hilton on Wednesday night.
Under the agreement, Sarawak Energy will sell electricity to Tenaga Nasional beginning 2017.
The proposed Bakun dam, which is expected to be ready by early 2010, could generate up to 2,400MW. A substantial amount of its power will be exported to the peninsula.
The proposed Murum dam is expected to take five years to be built, with its first turbine to begin operation in early 2012.
Taib said 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 would exploit the coal deposits in Nanga Merit in Kapit Division.
(It is estimated that 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.
Saying it would be easier to develop coal reserves than build hydro dams, Taib said hydro and coal would give the state a good mix in power generation.
Sarawak Energy is now producing only 108MW from hydro generation through the Batang Ai dam in the 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 the industries.