Energy plants in Kimanis, Lahad Datu to power more investments into Sabah

HIGH IN DEMAND: Photo shows one of SESB’s grid connector systems. Based on the projected power demand of seven per cent a year in Sabah by the Energy Commission, the demand for electricity in the state is expected to hit 1,500MW by 2020. — Bernama photo

KOTA KINABALU: The construction of two multi-billion ringgit power plants in Kimanis and Lahad Datu will make Sabah a more attractive investment destination.

“The extra energy capacity not only will help Sabah to become an attractive place for investments but most importantly, will provide electricity supply security to the state,” said Daud Abdillah, former deputy general manager of Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (formerly Sabah Electricity Board).

The two power projects, which will boost Sabah’s electricity supply by 600MW, are spearheaded by Petronas, the national oil corporation.

The RM1.5 billion Kimanis Power Plant will be operational in 2014 while the Lahad Datu Power Plant, costing RM2.2 billion, will be completed in 2015 and will include a liquefied natural gas (LNG) re-gasification terminal to provide natural gas feedstock.

Both the power plants will get their feedstock from the Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal, which is also being developed by Petronas.

“Petronas’ decision to invest in power plants in Sabah is indeed very timely and most welcomed,” said Daud, who is a power engineer by profession.

He said the additional power supply expected to come on-stream within the next three to four years would not only stabilise power supply within the state but also provide power supply to rural areas.

The Kimanis Power Plant is jointly developed by Petronas Gas Berhad in partnership with Yayasan Sabah through NRG Consortium (Sabah) Sdn Bhd.

The Lahad Datu Power Plant is being built by a Tenaga Nasional Berhad-led consortium together with Petronas and a Sabah state entity.

SESB is currently generating 866.4MW, of which, 50.3 per cent are purchased from independent power producers (IPPs).

SESB said its installed capacity (excluding IPPs) within the Sabah grid, which supplies electricity to major towns, stretching from the Federal Territory of Labuan to Tawau is 490.9MW, while the maximum demand is 760MW (as of June 2010).

Based on the projected power demand of seven per cent a year in Sabah by the Energy Commission, the demand for electricity in the state is expected to hit 1,500MW by 2020.

Under the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs), electricity supply has been identified as a challenge.

The challenging tasks of providing reliable electricity supply in Sabah have been given priority under the NKRAs.

To enhance reliability of electricity supply, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry implemented the System Average Interruption Duration Index or SAIDI last year.

SAIDI is a method used to measure the length of interruption experienced by a customer in a year, calculated in minutes.

According to the ministry, SAIDI for Peninsular Malaysia in 2009 was 72 minutes a customer while Sabah’s was 2,867 minutes per customer.

As at end of last year, SESB had reduced Sabah’s SAIDI to 361.81 minutes per consumer through implementation of various power plant projects. — Bernama

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