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Energy boost from Bakun

by Peter Sibon, reporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on August 6, 2011, Saturday

SOURCE OF POWER: An aerial view of the RM7.5 billion Bakun HEP Dam.

The first 300mw produced by one of dam’s eight turbines comes on line today

KUCHING: The RM7.5 billion Bakun hydroelectric power (HEP) Dam will officially make available 300 megawatt of power to the grid system starting today, revealed Sarawak Hidro chief executive officer cum managing director Zulkifle Osman.

He said the 300 megawatt would be produced by one of the eight turbines.

The Bakun HEP has a maximum capacity of 2,400 megawatt when fully operational next year.

“Starting today we are making 300 megawatt of power available for Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) to use,” Zulkifle told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

He added that the Reliability Run (RR) which started on July 5, ended yesterday to ensure all the machines were reliable.

Last night, Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr James Masing, who happened to be in Kapit, flew to Bakun to witness the handover ceremony between the Bakun contractor of the turbines Alstom Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd to Sarawak Hidro.

Masing said it was indeed a historic event and hoped that the Bakun HEP would stabilise the power supply in the state and hoped that the people in the surrounding areas would benefit from the mega project.

“I am pleased to witness this event since I was involved with the Bakun project since it was mooted in the early 1980s,”

Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud told the media during the closing of the last state assembly sitting that initially the state government, through the SEB, had made a proposal to the federal government to buy Bakun Dam but the offer was rejected.

“Instead, the state government through SEB has managed to secure a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) on 1 June, 2011 with the federal government through Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, to sell electricity from Bakun dam to the latter at 6.25 sen per kilowatt hour with an annual increase of 1.5 per cent,” said Taib.

Taib who is also the Minister of Planning and Resource Management said that the Prime Minister had from the beginning assured the state that Bakun’s energy would be used for the development of Sarawak industries.

He reiterated that Bakun Dam was a major step forward in the development of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

“With this supply of power now secured, SEB will be able to negotiate more firmly with the investors the price, size and duration of power requirement,” added Taib.

The Chief Minister stressed that the additional cost to SEB in delivering power to the consumers include the construction of the transmission lines and electrical sub-stations.

Sarawak Hidro is a unit of Ministry of Finance Inc and owner of the Bakun dam while Sesco is a wholly-owned unit of Sarawak Energy Bhd.

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