Bakun hydro project to be joint venture

Posted on April 13, 2011. Filed under: Energy |

-The Star-

KUCHING: The Bakun hydro dam, which is expected to produce its first 300MW in three months, will become a joint venture between the Federal and Sarawak governments, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

He did not, however, reveal what would be Sarawak government’s stake in the dam, which could produce up to 2,400MW when fully operational.

The dam is now owned by the Federal Government through Finance Minister Inc.

The Sarawak government has offered to take over the dam’s ownership for RM7bil after the Federal Government agreed to sell it last year as the plan to transmit the electricity to the peninsula via underwater submarine cables was scrapped.

From left: Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Tokuyama vice-president Toshiki Nakamura, Press Metal chairman Datuk Paul Koon, State Planning Unit director Datuk Ismawi Ismuni and State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohammad Morshidi Abdul Ghani after the signing.

“The Prime Minister has assured me and the state government that all the Bakun power will be given to industries in Sarawak,” Taib said at the signing of power purchase agreement (PPA) term sheet between state-owned Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) and four major investors in energy-intensive industries in Samalaju Industrial Park in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) here yesterday.

The four investors were Press Metal Bhd, Japan’s Tokuyama Corp, Hong Kong-based Asia Minerals Ltd and Singapore’s OM Materials, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Press Metal will set up a new aluminium smelter while Asia Minerals and OM Materials will each invest in a manganese smelter. Tokuyama’s plant will produce polycrystalline silicon for solar panels.

Taib said the 944MW Murum dam project, now under development by SEB, would be operational in 2014, and that more dams would be built.

“For the (proposed) Baram and Pelagus dam projects, all the technical studies have been done. The Baram dam project will be a joint venture with Brunei.

“We (Sarawak) will have 6,000MW to 7,000MW (hydro power) by 2020,” he added.

The proposed Baram dam in northern Sarawak is expected to generate about 1,000MW while the Pelagus dam in the upper reaches of the Rejang River basin, where the Bakun and Murum dams are located, will generate about 900MW.

SEB, which has plans to develop several smaller dams, will export electricity to Brunei and Sabah.

Taib said the state had some 500,000 coal resources which could be exploited to produce electricity.

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