Saturday, March 23

SEB to build more thermal power plants in next nine years


KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) will be building more thermal power plants within the next nine years to meet the increasing power demand from Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Its chief operating officer Lu Yew Hung said coal and gas power generation plants, which take a shorter time to build were necessary while waiting for the completion of Baleh hydro electric power (HEP) in 2024.

“We have a lot of SCORE customers coming in and needing a lot of power during the nine-year gap. To meet demand, we need to build some more coal and gas plants that will take shorter time to build,” he said during the second session of the media workshop on SEB’s business operations at Menara Sarawak Energy here yesterday.

Lu said SEB planned to build gas power generation plants in Lutong (200MW), Samalaju (800MW) and Kidurong (400MW), while coal power generation plants would be built in Mukah (600MW) and Kapit (600MW).

He said construction of another coal power generation plant in Balingian with a capacity of 600MW was in progress and to be completed in 2018.

Currently, the power capacity from thermal power plants is about 1,000MW coming from two coal power generation plants in Sejingkat Power Corporation (200MW) and Mukah Power Generation (270MW) and two gas power generation plants in Bintulu (515MW) and Pujut (70MW).

Lu said the addition of more coal and gas power generation plants would result in SEB’s future power generation mix to 60 per cent for hydro electricity, and 20 per cent each for coal and gas power generation.

“Currently, our (power) generation mix is 75 per cent hydro electricity coming from Bakun, Murum and Batang Ai power plants. The rest comes from coal and gas.”

He said SEB had set up a new department to manage the company’s coal resources.

“The department will undertake coal exploration to find new sources of coal to ensure the sustainability of supply, enter the mining industry to secure SEB’s interest and ensure coal is purchased at competitive prices.”

Lu said Sarawak had a lot of potential in coal power generation as it had a lot of coal resources in the Mukah-Balingian area, Kapit and some deposits at Sarawak’s border with Indonesia and Brunei.

“The two coal power plants that we have now used more than two million tonnes of coal per year. The Balingian coal power plant which is being constructed will burn about 3.2 million tonnes of coal per year.

“Once the plant is completed towards the end of 2017 or 2018, we are looking at burning more than five million tonnes of coal per year (for power generation).”