KL banks hopes on Bakun power
by Samuel Aubrey
February 17, 2010, Wednesday
Chin says PM to meet state govt on mode to relay electricity on which nations competitiveness depends
KUCHING: The federal government is still interested to buy power from Bakun hydro electric dam.Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin said from 2015 Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) will gradually need 1,600 megawatts to be able to supply competitive rate to industries in the peninsula.
We need low tariffs so that our manufactured goods could remain competitive with those produced by other countries such as Thailand. That is the reason why we need hydro power because it is cheap, clean and sustainable, he said when met by reporters during the Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) Chinese New Year open house last Sunday.
According to Chin, who is also SUPP organising secretary, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will soon meet with the states top leadership to further discuss the supply of electricity from Sarawak to the peninsula.
A final discussion on the matter will be called for by the prime minister. The meeting has yet to be decided, but I believe both the prime minister and the chief minister (Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud) are moving towards this, he said.
Chin said that if the power from Sarawaks Bakun dam does get to be supplied to the peninsula, it would need two submarine cables, each capable of transmitting 800MW of electricity, to be laid at a cost of RM8 billion, which is a colossal amount.
Because of the colossal amount needed to lay down the cables, the meeting between the prime minister and the state government is crucial so that we can discuss the costing for the power transmission. If it is too costly, only then TNB will have to look for other alternative sources of energy by 2015. For now we must see Bakuns potential, he said.
Chin was asked to comment on the statement made by the states Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan that all the power from Bakun hydroelectric dam will be utilised by the heavy industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
Bakun is expected to produce 1,776MW of firm electricity when fully operational in 2011, and is likely to meet the demand for power by the aluminium smelting plants in the states central region.
This could mean that the plan to export power from Bakun to the peninsula via submarine cables by 2015 may not be implemented as originally scheduled.
According to Tengah, the state can only export electricity to the peninsula after meeting the rising demands for electricity by industries in SCORE and upon the completion of the Murum Dam project by 2013 and the new dams proposed in Pelagus, Baleh, Baram, Limbang and Lawas.