Sarawak has great potential for power generation from Batang Ai reservoir, says Abang Johari

KUCHING: Sarawak has the potential to increase power generation from floating solar to 2,000MW at the Batang Ai hydroelectric plant (HEP) reservoir due to its size, says Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Premier said Sarawak Energy Bhd's (SEB) Batang Ai floating solar farm would generate 50MW once it was completed in October.

He said the 86ha farm took up only 2% of the reservoir's total surface area of 8,500ha, leaving plenty of room for growth.

"From my calculations, if we use 60% of 8,500ha, the potential solar energy we can produce is about 2,000MW.

"I have shared this with SEB so that we can plan an increase in Batang Ai's solar power generation capacity and I believe they will research this proposal," he said.

Abang Johari told reporters this after visiting the Batang Ai floating solar farm, about 288km from here, on Thursday (June 20).

He also said the state government would identify floating solar projects at the Bakun and Murum reservoirs with potential capacities of 500MW and 600MW respectively.

"We have signed a memorandum of understanding with (renewable energy company) Masdar from the United Arab Emirates, who are interested in developing solar energy," he added.

Meanwhile, SEB group chief executive officer Datuk Sharbini Suhaili said the Batang Ai project would be Malaysia's largest floating solar plant and the first major generation hybrid between hydro and solar.

"Through a joint venture with China Power International Holdings and Trina

Solar, the floating solar project has achieved 35% progress and is expected to be commissioned by the end of October this year.

"Once fully commissioned, the facility is expected to offset around 52 kilotonnes of emissions per year, contributing to the further decarbonisation of Sarawak’s power system," he said.

Sharbini also said SEB was conducting studies on the feasibility of a phase two floating solar facility at Batang Ai with a capacity of up to 160MW.

In addition, he said SEB was looking to deploy floating solar at the Bakun and Murum reservoir sites.

"Ultimately, Sarawak Energy remains fully committed to exploring floating solar at Batang Ai HEP and beyond, with the eventual completion of this initial floating solar project in October being the first step," he said.



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