No energy surplus in Sarawak, says SEB

Torstein (left) and SEB chief of corporate services Aisah Eden (right) present Duit Raya to the children of Rumah Amal Nur Murni during the Ramadhan Iftar with the media at BCCK. — Photo by Jeffrey Mustapa

Torstein (left) and SEB chief of corporate services Aisah Eden (right) present Duit Raya to the children of Rumah Amal Nur Murni during the Ramadhan Iftar with the media at BCCK. — Photo by Jeffrey Mustapa

KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) assured that there is no surplus of energy in the state in addressing issues on why there is a need for all of its hydropower projects.

According to SEB chief executive officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit, the demand for bulk energy in the state, driven by the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) as well as normal economic growth, has been exceptionally strong.

“In powering SCORE, we have signed a total of 14 power purchase agreements with customers from power intensive industries, representing a total size of more than 3,000 megawatts,” Torstein said at the Ramadhan Iftar with the media at Borneo Convention Centre (BCCK) on Thursday.

He noted in his speech that once the growth in the organic and non-SCORE related loads are taken into account, the entire firm output of Bakun and Murum HEPs, the Balingian coal-fired plant and the new combined cycle power plants being developed at Kidurong (near Bintulu) and Lutong (near Miri) has already been committed to SEB’s customers who are at various stages of completing their plants in Samalaju.

He further noted that SEB believed the requirement by 2020 will be around 5,000 megawatts (MW) and the plant capacity is about 5,300 MW.

“We actually have turned away a few SCORE customers.

“This is a pity of course because these customers are not customers, they are actually offering hundreds and thousands of jobs to young Sarawakians and we hope that we will be able to serve them better in 2018 to 2020 by developing new projects,” he added.

On a positive note, SEB has seen quite a strong growth in local consumption for electricity, from the people, businesses and industries.

Torstein said that over the last four years, the grid demand for electricity in Sarawak has increased tremendously due to a fast growing population and improving standards of living, along with a vibrant business sector that drives demand growth from local tariff customers.

On SEB’s Murum Hydro Electric Project (HEP), Torstein confirmed that all four turbines are fully commissioning and working perfectly.

The last of the four turbines at the Murum HEP officially started commercial operation on June 8, 2015.

On a side note, Torstein reminded consumers to practice energy conservation habits during this hot season.

Other than saving on electricity bills, this will also ease the burden on the power system especially during peak hours.

“We are currently in the final stages of implementing the 500kV which is going to protect the system in Kuching from next year,” he added.

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