Sabah renting power ships to meet state’s electricity demands


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is looking to rent two power ships, which are essentially floating power plants, as part of fast-track efforts under its Power Development Plan (PDP) to meet electricity demands in the state.

Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan said the power ships, belonging to Turkish-based Karpowership Global DMCC, would be able to generate 224MW of electricity.

The state is planning to place both vessels along the east coast by year's end, he said, specifically at the Warisan main transmission line at the POIC (Palm Oil Industrial Cluster) Lahad Datu and Seguntor line at POIC Sandakan for five years.

“The government through Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) and the Energy Commission of Sabah (Ecos) are in midst of negotiating with Karpowership (over the terms),” he told the state assembly here on Wednesday (Aug 9).

“The rental of these power ships is the most complete and fastest solution to improve generation capacity by 200MW because the power generator set on the ships is readily available and can be operated at any location quickly without the need of an actual (ground) site.

“These ships can be deployed for commercial use within two months after the contract is signed, subject to all necessary permits, licences and approvals from the authorities,” Nizam said.

He was replying to Dr Daud Yusoff (Warisan-Bongawan) who had asked about Sabah’s plans to improve power generation during the question-and-answer session.

Nizam added that Karpowership Global DMCC owns and operates 36 power ships worldwide with an installed capacity of over 6,000MW, and was supplying reliable energy to 15 countries on four continents.

The ships operate on reciprocating engines based on heavy fuel oil (HFO), he said, adding that HFOs were cheaper compared to diesel.

Towards this end, he said the state’s PDP took into consideration the organic growth in Sabah, which involved rising demand from domestic and other smaller consumers, and step load burden involving bigger industry consumers.

For the medium-term energy plan (2026-2030), he said, the state intended to increase power generation through hydro production at around 400MW and through large-scale solar power projects at 100MW, among others.

Nizam said efforts were also being made to complete a 275kV main transmission line between Sabah and Sarawak as well as the Southern Link project to stabilise the state’s power grid.

As a long-term plan, he said the state will focus on green energy beyond 2030, with an emphasis on developing hydroelectric potential besides exploring new power sources such as geothermal, wind, hydrogen and battery energy storage.

“A plan to connect the grid between Sabah and North Kalimantan will also be explored based on the results of a feasibility study to be carried out this year,” he said.

Sabah Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Phoong Jin Zhe said the state would be able to put more focus on developing its renewable energy (RE) sector when it takes over full regulatory control of its electricity supply next year.

He said the Federal Government had also recently launched the National Energy Transition Roadmap which would pave the way for better cooperation between federal authorities and the state to develop the RE industry.

Earlier, Sabah Opposition leader Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Senallang) said the state should not only invest in providing energy to industry players but also to ordinary consumers.

He said the government should ensure it supplied sufficient power to the people who continue to experience supply disruptions throughout Sabah.

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