Friday, August 6

Stop tendering process of Baleh HEP dam projects, See tells Adenan

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KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem is urged to stop the tendering process of major work packages involving an estimated RM9 billion for the 1,285MW Baleh HEP dam.

Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, who is state PKR vice-chairman, said the tendering process ought to be stopped because SEB only announced on April 27 that the social and environment impact assessment (SEIA) report had been completed but the company had not given the public enough time to inspect the report.

“Ample time must be given for the public to inspect the SEIA report and after the feedback has come in, the government has to inspect the (Baleh dam) project before deciding whether to go ahead with the project.

“With only three months, it is not correct for SEB to proceed with the tendering process. Further, at the time when they revealed the SEIA report, SEB also confirmed that the report did not include seismic studies,” he told a press conference here, yesterday.

Considering that the SEIA report was incomplete and yet to be inspected by the public, See said it was therefore not right for SEB to proceed with the tendering process.

SEB chief executive officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit recently told a national English daily that the company had tendered out three of eight major work packages for Baleh HEP dam project, adding that the tenders for the project’s explosive magazine and diversion tunnels packages had closed and the bidders were now being evaluated.

Tender for the third package – operator’s village – will close this month. The remaining five packages are jetty, bridges and road, main civil works, main electrical and mechanical works, transmission line and substation.

See said he did not believe in Sjotveit’s statement that SEB had signed a total of 14 power purchase agreements (PPAs) and therefore, there was still a question of shortage of power supply and not of demand.

Sjotveit was recently quoted as saying that in powering Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), SEB had signed a total of 14 power purchase agreements with customers from power intensive industries, to the tune of more than 3,000 megawatts.

In one of the PPA agreements that See had seen, he said even though there were prospective industrial corporations wanting to enter into agreement to purchase the state’s power supply, there were a lot of uncertainties in the agreements as there was no firm commitment.

“There is no such thing as firm demand for our power supply to have all the mega dams to produce this kind of power.”

He therefore hoped Sjotveit would stop trying to mislead the public and the state government by saying there would be a shortage of power supply and there was a rush to build all the proposed mega dams.

“Further, with the studies that are conducted by Renewable Energy Laboratory (RAEL) of the University of California, Berkeley, I hope the state government will look at alternative energy resources, rather than going into highly damaging and ‘un-environmental’ friendly mega dam projects.”