Friday, July 1

S’wak to build multi-billion alternative power line


BETONG: A multi-billion ringgit ‘backbone transmission line’ (alternative line) might be built soon to ensure better security and reliable power supply, revealed Minister of Public Utilities Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan yesterday.

He told The Borneo Post that Phase I of the backbone transmission line from Samalaju to Sibu, costing about RM2 billion, was now at the design stage and might be tendered out soon.

“There is an urgent need to provide security and reliability to our present power supply so that when there is a power failure in the grid system, the backbone transmission line could provide the loop to ensure uninterrupted power supply to customers,” he said after presenting compensations to land owners and handing over Bumiputera Community Land Reserve at Dewan Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan here yesterday.

The state currently only has one power grid line stretching from Lundu to Miri. The backbone transmission line would have a capacity of 500KV, which is 225KV more than the present grid system.

“At the same time we also need more power, especially from Bakun hydroelectric (HEP) dam, to provide the much needed energy for power-intensive projects, especially in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) area, and to meet anticipated increase in demand due to organic growth.”

The state currently consumed between 1,100MW and 1,200MW of electricity while supply from all sources is about 1,500MW.

Awang Tengah revealed that although Bakun had been able to provide 300MW of electricity to the grid system since August 6, the actual power intake was only 180MW.

He added that power from Bakun was still in its infancy and as such the government would not rely on it too much for the time being as it could still experience technical glitches like what happened on Tuesday.

The statewide power failure from 9.06am till 4.20pm was caused by a power trip in Bakun HEP.

Awang Tengah, who is also the Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management, said he was confident that when power from electricity generating dams were fully tapped in future, the state would be able to attract more heavy and power-intensive industries, such as aluminium smelting, poly-silicon, metallic silicon, manganese and ferro-silicon smelting, to invest here.

Sarawak is expected to produce some 7,500MW of power by 2020, out of which about 80 per cent would come from HEP.