PETALING JAYA: The Kenyir Lake (pic), with a generating capacity of 400MW hydro electric power, is the biggest man-made lake in South-East Asia. With a catchment area of more than 36,900ha, it is bigger than Kuala Lumpur and Singapore combined.
Able to store 13,600 million cubic metres of water, the lake in Terengganu is one of the country’s top eco-aqua tourism spots.
It also serves as a natural flood control system in the state and contributes to the socio-economic development of the area by generating jobs for the locals.
The lake will be expanded with the RM2bil Hulu Terengganu Hydro Electric Project. The Tenaga Nasional Berhad project involves the building of the Puah and Tembat plants and dams to generate 453GWh a year for the national grid.
In construction since January 2010, the Puah dam will generate 250MW when fully completed in December next year and Tembat dam another 15MW when it is completed in April 2016.
Although the Puah plant covers only one-sixth of the Kenyir Lake, it can generate 250MW.
The new project complements the Sultan Mahmud Plant that has been operating since 1985 and generates 400MW using four turbines.
The lake system in Hulu Terengganu comprises three levels. At the top is the Tembat dam where the water goes down to the Puah dam and then the Kenyir dam before flowing into the Terengganu River.
The Puah plant is equipped with the latest turbine technology that allows it to act as a “sprinter”, enabling the energy produced to be transmitted to the national grid within 10 seconds.
Due to efficient management of TNB in the building of the two plants, the benefits from the project will be enjoyed soon.
The storing of water at the Puah plant began on Oct 1. This will ensure that tests on the two turbines can be carried out in July next year.
The impounding of the Puah reservoir has been implemented six weeks ahead of its schedule.
Its impoundment kicked off on Oct 1 during a visit by Energy, Green Technology and Water Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid to the site.
The process of water catchment begins with an increase of 0.5m every five minutes. It will take 14 months before it reaches its maximum height of 296m.
TNB has given grants to its subsidiary, TNB Research Sdn Bhd (TNBR), to conduct studies on how to preserve the environment there.
Two programmes have been developed to save the fishes and wildlife in compliance with the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment Approval Condition by the Department of Environment.
One programme is to save the fishes trapped at the Puah dam construction area estuary with the cooperation of the Fisheries Department, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia.
The fishes saved are profiled and the data recorded before they are released upstream, which is not affected by the project.
The Mahseer fish caught are transferred to a special nursing pond at the TNBR’s Research and Rescue Centre built in the project area.
Another programme is being carried out by Perhilitan and UKM. The wildlife rescue programme is developed based on the data gathered from surveys, monthly monitoring and past reports of wildlife in Hulu Terengganu.
The rescue operation was started in April when different types of traps were used to rescue the endangered wildlife trapped there.
All wildlife rescued are identified and treated where needed. Their data is recorded before they are released into the Sungai Deka Wild-life Forest Reserve.
Camera traps have been installed at Sungai Deka Wildlife Reserve and project site to monitor the progress of the existing and released animals within the areas.
The movements of elephants within the project area are monitored using satellite GPS tracking device to determine if they are affected by the project.
The programmes will be the benchmark for sustainable growth in all TNB’s renewable energy projects.