Thursday October 18, 2012

SEB plans another five power plants

By Jack Wong

Coal-fired plants to generate 2,400MW in total

<B>More power:</B> The new SEB headquarters located at the Isthmus, Sejingkat. The state-owned power company also plans to have two more dam projects. More power: The new SEB headquarters located at the Isthmus, Sejingkat. The state-owned power company also plans to have two more dam projects.

KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) plans to build another five coal-fired power plants with a combined generation capacity of 2,400MW to support energy-intensive industries in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

The five include the 600MW (2x300MW) Balingian I project, for which the tender for its construction has been called.

SEB senior vice-president (thermal) James Ung Sing Kwong said the other plants were Balingian II (300MW),Mukah West I (600MW), Merit Pila in Kapit Division (300MW) and Mukah West II (600MW).

“The total annual coal consumption of these proposed power plants will be 12.8mil tonnes,” he added in a paper presentation at an international energy conference hosted by the Sarawak state government here yesterday.

His paper was on “Advanced coal utilisation technologies and its prospect for Sarawak.”

Ung said the new coal-fired power plants would fill the gap of additional hydro generating capacity coming on stream as more dams would be built.

He said SEB's plan was to increase Sarawak's energy generation mix from coal to about 20% to ensure a reliable power supply.

Currently, Sarawak is dependent on gas to generate 50% of its electricity with hydro power and coal contributing about 35% and 15% respectively. According to Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, about 80% of the state's energy needs would be met by hydro power by 2020.

SEB is constructing its first major hydro dam - the 944MW Murum dam which is currently more than 75% complete. The Murum project is located upstream of the 2,400MW Bakun hydro dam in Kapit Division.

Ung said SEB owned and operated coal-fired power plants in Sejingkjat here (210MW) and Mukah (270MW).

Sarawak has an estimated coal reserves of 1.46bil tonnes. The measured reserves of 276mil tonnes are mostly in Mukah-Balingian areas and in Merit Pila in the central region.

On the proposed Balingian I coal-fired plant project, Ung said it would be built close to the coalfields to enable the indigenous coal to be supplied to the plant via conveyor belts.

“The annual coal consumption of the plant is about 3.2mil tonnes or 80mil tonnes for its 25-year operating life.”

Buroi mine, which has a measured reserves of 21.8 million tonnes, has been identified as one of the coalfields that will supply to the project.

He said the plant's first unit (300MW) was targetted for commercial operation in second quarter of 2016.

Later at a SCORE forum, SEB head of key accounts (SCORE customers) Alvin Lim Khiok Leong said the state-owned company planned to develop two more dam projects - in Baram in northern Sarawak and Balleh in Kapit Division - which would have a combined generation capacity of 2,500MW.

He said also identified for development were several smaller dams with total generation capacity of 1,000MW.

“All these projects will drive the next wave of investors coming into SCORE,” he added.

SEB has committed the entire firm output of Bakun (1,771MW) and Murum dam (635MW) to pioneer investors in energy-intensive industries in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu.

Lim said with additional power generation capacity, there was potential for existing SCORE industries to expand their operations.

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