Northern Grid Extension project scheduled for completion in 2023

Transmision line connecting Marudi Junction Substation.

KUCHING, Aug 16: The Northern Grid Extension project which will eventually connect Limbang and Lawas to Sarawak’s main power grid is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Minister of Utilities Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said the project is being implemented in phases to extend the transmission grid across the whole length of Sarawak.

He said it would also cater for injection points for potential power export to Sabah and Brunei in realising the Borneo Grid.

“I am pleased that the strategic plan for the power supply system to be reinforced and modernised to meet demand growth for the north is already being implemented but we understand that this will take time to complete.

“The region is vast with difficult terrain to negotiate through a longer route bypassing international border crossings to get to Limbang and Lawas. In addition to this challenge, there are land and wayleave matters,” Dr Rundi said in a press statement today.

He said his ministry through Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) is progressing major project work packages to further modernise and connect electricity supply for Sarawak’s developing northern region and beyond.

According to him, Sarawak’s northern region has developed quickly especially over the past few years and the associated population growth has raised demand for electricity supply.

Dr Rundi also hoped that Sarawakians would give SEB their full cooperation so as to enjoy a modern electricity supply system with full coverage throughout Sarawak and to become an exporter of renewable energy for Borneo.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Energy Group Chief Executive Officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili said challenges have motivated SEB further to come up with innovative solutions and contingency measures that will resolve the electricity issues for the time being until greater grid connectivity is achieved through the Northern Grid Extension project.

“We have a number of projects running concurrently focusing on improving supply reliability for residents in the north. We hope to complete these projects as scheduled and for the team to achieve timely delivery, we need the cooperation of everyone,” Sharbini explained.

In total, the transmission packages for Miri alone amounted to over RM670 million and the expansion works at the 275kV Similajau substation was completed in March this year.

For Miri city, the completion of the Marudi Junction 275kV, 132kV, and 33kV substation in May 2019, and Eastwood 132kV and 33kV substation in July 2020, served as new injection points in line with the reinforcement plans for the city’s electricity system to enhance supply reliability.

The Marudi Junction 275/132/33kV Substation.

The Eastwood 132kV and 33kV substations worth RM65 million in total will benefit around 15,000 customers residing in Miri City, Marina and its surrounding.

In addition, the facilities cater to the development at Eastwood Valley with excess power being used for regional load growth. Transmission line projects traversing 199 km to connect all the substations are completed in tandem.

Reinforcement works are also progressing in Lawas with the Lawas Town 275kV, 33kV and 132kV substation expected to come online by December 2021. The package costing half a billion ringgit includes connecting 131 km of 275kV transmission line from Medamit to Lawas Town,” he added.

Sarawak Energy has also partially commissioned its mini hydro plant Kota 2, a run-of-river scheme which currently provides up to 7MW out of the total 10.5MW installed capacity, reducing the dependence on diesel for power generation in northern Sarawak.

In the meantime, Limbang is expected to be connected to the main grid displacing the existing diesel power station through the completion of the Bunut 275 and 33kV and Limbang Town 275kV and 33kV substation by February 2023, along with the stringing of 228km transmission lines, which cost RM800 million altogether. –DayakDaily.