Assessing the Future Potential of Hydropower in Sarawak
Hydropower is slated to be the solution to the growing energy needs of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) and its related projects, which has seen more demand for energy with increasing investments.
SCORE has to date seen RM24 billion worth of investments, whereby RM12.318 billion were foreign investments and RM6.635 billion were in joint ventures between local and foreign investors, according to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.
Sarawak State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani highlighted during the International Hydropower Association (IHA) 2013 World Congress yesterday that the theme of advancing hydropower was particularly important to address the challenges currently faced by the state.
“Sarawak has long been recognised as having a large potential for the development of hydro electric power by virtue of its high rainfall and suitable topography.
The first overall review of potential hydropower done in 1962 was made by Australian engineers under the Colombo Programme.
“Based on those studies and reviews, it was noted that Sarawak has the potential hydro energy of 20,000 megawatts (MW) of clean energy with a total energy output of 87,000 MW per year,” Morshidi stated in his speech.
To recap, Sarawak’s first venture into hydro electricity was the Batang Ai dam project, which had the capacity of 108MW.
Morshidi noted that the state had recently started taking power from the Bakun dam.
The project’s first four turbines were already commissioned and were now producing around 700MW of energy, with the remaining turbines to be commissioned over the next 12 months achieving full capacity of 2,400MW.
The state’s latest dam, namely the Murum hydroelectric project, is currently nearing completion and is expected to be operational by the end of next year.