Water to remain Sarawak’s major source of electricity – Dr Rundi

KUCHING: The power generation in Sarawak remains predominantly hydro with the generation capacity mix for hydro, gas and coal at 74 per cent, 16 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said the current total grid generation installed capacity is 4,641 megawatt (MW) to meet the peak demand of 3,623MW.

To ensure adequacy of reliable and affordable power supply to stimulate the economic growth in the state, new generation projects are being implemented. The 624MW Balingian Coal-fired Power Station is expected to be ready by the second quarter of 2019, the 842MW Tanjung Kidurong Combined-Cycle Gas-Fired Plant will be completed by the first quarter of 2021 while the construction of the 1,285MW Baleh Hydroelectric Plant has begun.

In addition, the potential of small renewable energy is also being explored to encourage more clean and green energy in the state, he said when winding up the debate on points raised on his ministry at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday.

He disclosed that the completed packages of 500kV transmission backbone from Similajau to Tondong, which serves as an alternative double circuit line running parallel to the existing 275kV transmission grid, is supported by other major on-going or planned regional transmission system expansion and reinforcement.

This include Serudit 275/33kV substation reinforcing the existing 33kV distribution systems in the Betong-Debak-Pusa areas and provides for the Lachau-Sri Aman-Serudit-Saratok-Sarikei 132kV Regional Grid; the 132kV transmission line which supplies power to the central coastal areas spanning Petian-Daro-Sg Maaw-Tanjung Manis which is expected to be completed in 2019; the new Similajau-Bunut-Marudi junction transmission line, which will provide a second transmission injection into Miri by 2020; and the Bunut-Limbang-Lawas transmission line that will connect northern Sarawak to the state grid by 2022.

On rural electricity supply, Dr Rundi said his ministry targets for full 24-hour electricity coverage by 2025 through the implementation of various strategies under the Rural Power Supply Master Plan.

These strategies include distribution grid extension under the Rural Electrification Scheme (RES) initiative and transmission extension under the Rural Power Supply Scheme (RPSS) for areas with accessibility and remote stand-alone renewable Alternative Hybrid Rural Electrification Project (Hybrid) and Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) system.

He said under Sares, over 2,369 households in 98 villages have been connected with 24-hour electricity supply.

Another 646 households in 19 more villages are expected to be electrified this year. By 2020, over 320 of our remotest villages will have 24-hour supply through these community-based solar and micro-hydro systems, he assured.