Friday, February 12, 2010

Chan allays concerns over Bakun power for peninsula

12 February 2010


KUCHING: The electricity generated by the Bakun hydro-electric dam in the upper Rejang River basin in central Sarawak will be exported to Peninsular Malaysia as planned.

This is because the power requirements of the energy-intensive industries to be set up in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) will be met by other hydro dams to be built.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri George Chan Hong Nam said Sarawak Energy Bhd’s (SEB) Murum hydro dam project, currently under construction upstream of the Bakun dam, would generate 900MW when completed by 2013.

He said the Bakun dam would initially supply power to industries like aluminium smelters to be set up in SCORE until the proposed submarine cables to transmit power from Sarawak to the peninsula were ready.

“There is no need for concern,’’ said Chan, who is also state Industrial Development Minister, when asked about a StarBiz report yesterday regarding uncertainty being raised on whether Bakun power would be sold to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) for use in the peninsula as the electricity was needed to power the proposed aluminium smelters to be built in SCORE.

Doubts have also been raised on the fate of the proposed submarine cables if power from the Bakun dam is to be consumed by Sarawak’s energy-intensive industries.

The two aluminium smelter projects will be developed respectively by the joint ventures between GIIG Holdings Sdn Bhd and Aluminium Corp of China Ltd as well as between Rio Tinto Alcan and Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd.

The Bakun dam, which is developed by Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, has an installed capacity of 2,400MW.

It is expected to produce its first 300MW by the end of this year and to be fully operational by 2011.

The first of the proposed submarine cables, according to Sarawak Hiro managing director Zulkifle Osman recently, is only expected to be completed in 2016, and the second cable a year later.

Each of the cable will transmit 800MW.

Under a heads of agreement signed by SEB and TNB in 2008, SEB is expected to sell 3,000MW to TNB from 2017 to 2020, and export an additional 5,000MW to TNB from 2021 to 2030.

Sarawak has the potential to generate some 20,000MW through hydro dam projects by 2030.

SEB, which generates and distributes electricity in Sarawak, was taken private by the Sarawak government recently.

Chan said the development of the proposed hydro dams had been timed to meet the requirements of industries.

These state-owned dams, like Murum, will replace Bakun to supply energy to indusrties in SCORE once Bakun starts to export its electricity to the peninsula.

The proposed dams planned by SEB include in Baram (1,000MW) and Balleh (900MW) which will be built by 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The proposed Balleh dam is also located in the upper Rejang River basin.

SEB has plans to also develop more coal-powered power stations.

Source: The Star

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