Thursday, October 24

TNB mulls sourcing electricity from S’wak

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KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) is mulling the idea of sourcing electricity from Sarawak for Peninsular Malaysia in the future especially with plans for any nuclear power plant as an alternative power source remain uncertain.

POTENTIAL CAPACITY: Che Khalib says Sarawak has the capacity to generate electricity from several hydropower projects to up to 20,000 megawatts to cater to the needs of the peninsula.

Its chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Che Khalib, said Sarawak has the capacity to generate electricity from several hydropower projects to up to 20,000 megawatts to cater to the needs of the peninsula.

“We need to do this because at this moment, to develop nuclear project, the public reception towards this project may not be there yet.

“It may delay the implementation of nuclear power plant,” he told reporters after the company’s Family Day 2011 here yesterday.

At the same time, TNB cannot rely on fossil fuels like coal and gas as they would continue to deplete, he said.

“If we don’t have nuclear, we have to look back at the option of taking power from Sarawak even though it will be very costly.

“The cost of putting undersea cables from Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia is going to cost us a lot of money.” Che Khalib was commenting on the Energy Commission (EC)’s suggestion recently that Peninsular Malaysia would need to take power from Sarawak if the government deferred plans to build a nuclear power plant.

This has generated some interest on the possible revival of the multi-billion ringgit submarine power cable project.

Currently, the total consumption of electricity in Peninsular Malaysia is about 15,000MW, with its electricity demand growing between five and eight per cent evey year.

According to EC, over 10,0000MW of new and replacement generation capacity will be required in the peninsula from now to 2020.

It was expected that about 1,000 to 2,000MW electricity from Sarawak will be enough to cater to the demand for about two to three years.

Peninsular Malaysia is expected to face shortage of electricity by 2015. On another note, Che Khalib said higher coal prices and gas shortage would affect its third quarter result, which is expected to be announced on July 21.

“Obviously, it (result) will be quite weak because we were facing a lot of issues over the last quarter,” he said.

Despite the hike in electricity tariffs by 7.12 per cent, Che Khalib said 5.12 per cent was to cater to the increase in gas prices, to be given later to Petronas while the two per cent would be enough only to cater to the increase in its operating cost since 2006.

Until now, TNB has been absorbing the cost of rise in coal price, he said.

“Coal prices have gone up from US$85 per tonne to US$120 per tonne now.

“We will use 20 million tonnes of coal this year, so just imagine the differences,” he said. — Bernama