CM: Sarawak negotiating to supply electricity to Brunei, exploring ways to monetise hydro dams

Abang Johari (centre) flanked by Nanta on his right and Masing on his left pose for a group photo.

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By Karen Bong 

KUCHING, Sept 9: Sarawak is currently negotiating to supply power to Brunei Darussalam and exploring ways to monetise its hydropower dams to increase the value of Sarawak’s assets given the role of renewable energy in the future electricity market.
Highlighting this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out the Ministry of Utilities and Sarawak Energy Berhad (Sarawak Energy) is exploring the ways to monetise the hydropower dams in the State by quantifying the value of hydroelectric power generated from turbine, floating solar panels and hydrogen from water. 

“Like Singapore (has invested substantially to float a hectare of solar panels in one of its reservoirs) did on reclaimed land, but our Bakun dam itself is as big as Singapore so we can float solar panels there to generate power supply. 

“In other words, we (Sarawak) can supply three sources of energy that will definitely become a resource for us to participate actively in our economic development,” he said before witnessing  the handing over of letter authorising Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) Regulatory Exemption for Sarawak held at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today. 

Elaborating on Sarawak’s strength in renewable energy resources, he emphasised that the State has already signed an agreement to supply electricity to Sabah and it has been supplying power to West Kalimantan since 2016. 

“Next we are negotiating with Brunei, which also needs our assistance. 

“With a strong power base, we can share our energy with the rest of the country. Perhaps one day, we may have to cross the South China Sea. I don’t want to mention now, but this are the energy resources that we have,” he added. 

On Aug 6, Sarawak via Syarikat Sesco Berhad inked the Power Exchange and Interconnection Agreement with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd to export 30MW of electricity for a term of 15 years to Sabah by the end of 2023. 

Abang Johari also disclosed that Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Energy Sdn Bhd are currently building kiosks to provide energy from fossil fuels, electricity (to charge electric vehicles) as well as hydrogen. 

“This is part of our overall plan to diversify our energy resources,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the current energy generation capacity in Sarawak is predominantly renewable hydropower from Batang Ai, Murum and Bakun hydropower plants. 

By 2026, once the 1,285MW Baleh hydropower project is completed, Sarawak will have additional supply for the grid.

It is also Sarawak’s ambition to generate 15 per cent of its renewable energy sector’s income from foreign and export markets. 

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi, Federal Secretary Sarawak Dato Amir Omar, Petros Sarawak Berhad (Petros) chairman Tan Sri Dr Hamid Bugo, and SEDC Energy Sdn Bhd general manager Abdul Hadi Abdul Kadir were among those present. — DayakDaily