The Star Malaysia - StarBiz

SEB to spend up to RM1bil on turbine project

Design for 300MW turbine at Bakun dam in final stage

- By JACK WONG starbiz@thestar.com.my

KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) is expected to invest between RM500mil and RM1bil in the new 300MW turbine project in the Bakun hydroelect­ric dam.

Subsidiary SEB Power Sdn Bhd chief executive officer James Ung Sing Kwong said the project would involve the constructi­on of new facilities to the existing power plant.

“We are in the stage of finalising the design (of the new turbine project),” he told StarBiz, adding that an open tender would be called once the detailed design is ready.

Ung expects the project to take three to five years to complete.

Last Friday, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg ( pic) announced that the Bakun dam would be installed with an additional turbine to boost its generation capacity.

SEB acquired the 2,400MW Bakun dam from the federal government for some RM9bil last year.

The dam in the upper Rejang Basin in Kapit Division is currently operated with eight turbines.

Once the additional turbine is commission­ed, this would bring the dam’s installed capacity to 2,700MW to beef up supply to energy-intensive industries in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu within Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

Ung said SEB currently had hydro power generating capacity of 3,452MW – the other two are 944MW Murum dam and 108MW Batang Ai dam, which was built in the 1980s.

Under constructi­on now is the proposed 1,285MW Baleh dam, which is expected to be commission­ed by 2025.

The combined installed capacity of the four dams is 4,737MW.

Bakun, Murum and Baleh dams are all located in the Upper Rejang Basin.

“In 2010, SEB’s generation capacity is 1,000MW and 90% of the generation mix is hydrocarbo­n.

“Today, the generation mix is mainly hydro which made up 75%.

“Going forward,we will maintain hydro as our main generation mix,and keep it at 60% (in the long term),” added Ung in his paper on “Affordable sustainabl­e energy as a driver for economic growth” at the Sarawak Business Federation’s inaugural Sarawak Internatio­nal Business Exhibition and Conference which ended here over the weekend.

On thermal plants, he said the proposed 2x300MW Balingian coal-fired plant in Mukah Division was expected to be commission­ed next year.

SEB also owns coal-fired power plants in Mukah (270MW) and Sejingkat, Kuching (210MW).

“Under constructi­on now is the Tanjung Kidurong combined cycle gas plant,with an installed capacity of 842MW,” he added.

The first block project is expected to be commission­ed in 2020.

The existing Tanjung Kidurong gas plant has a current generating capacity of 500MW.

Ung said SEB’s investment­s in the on-going power generating projects was to support energy-intensive industries in Score.

“In Samalaju Industrial Park, we have committed demand of 2,000MW,which is three times the power demand in Kuching.

“The hydro power gives us a sustainabl­e competitiv­e advantage by offering very competitiv­e tariffs to energy-intensive industries,” said Ung.

Key energy-intensive industries currently in operation in the park are aluminium, ferroalloy and manganese smelters.

Saying that SEB now offers the lowest non-subsidised electricit­y tariffs in Malaysia, he said the state-owned utility company aspired to be a regional powerhouse via the Asean power grid project, a blueprint of all the 10 member nations.

Ung said SEB started exporting power to neighbouri­ng Pontianak, west Kalimantan in 2016, and had since increased the sales to 200MW.

“We are working towards inter-region connection and power exchange (agreements) with Sabah and Brunei via TransBorne­o grid,” he added.

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