Premier: Extra turbines, floating solar panels to supply at least 800MW electricity to power hydrogen plant

Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (file pic)

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, March 29: The Sarawak government aims to add more turbines to Bakun Dam and build floating solar panels in all the hydro dams to produce at least 800 Megawatt (MW) of electricity to power the hydrogen plant in Bintulu in which construction is expected to start next year.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out that Sarawak’s energy sector needed to be enhanced in preparation for the major hydrogen plant, which requires about 800 MW of electricity to produce 100,000 tonnes of hydrogen.

“From the pilot hydrogen project we started, now we are preparing to set up the big plant to produce hydrogen with investments from Sumitomo (Japanese corporation) and Samsung (of) South Korea.

“They (the investors) will buy back the hydrogen, which is estimated to produce up to 100,000 tonnes. This will become the basis to develop our hydrogen economy. But of course, we need power first,” he said.

He highlighted this at the networking dinner by Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) and the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (NCCIM) held at a hotel here last night (March 28).

To cater electricity for the hydrogen plant, Abang Johari proposed increasing the number of turbines in the State-owned Bakun Hydroelectric Plant.

“One turbine produces 300MW and two turbines (can produce) 600MW. So we can cater to them (the hydrogen plant),” he explained.

Apart from Bakun, which can produce 1,700MW to 2,100MW, Sarawak also has three other hydropower stations, namely Batang Ai (108MW), Murum (635MW and 944MW) as well as Baleh, which is expected to generate up to 1,285MW when operational in 2026.

“Additionally, we can build floating solar panels on these hydro dams, which have huge water bodies, to become another source of energy generation. Otherwise, it will be a waste (not to make use of it).

“Like Bakun, it is as big as Singapore. So, with the floating solar systems installed, we could probably generate another 1,000MW of electricity,” he added.

With water and solar in its electricity generation mix, Abang Johari said Sarawak would have surplus energy.

He thus welcomes those who want to set up their plants in Sarawak, which offers good electricity tariffs.

“We are going for a green economy. That’s why I have set up the Ministry of Energy and Environmental Sustainability where we will focus on the issues of climate change, mitigating carbon emissions, and a green economy based on renewable energy,” he said. — DayakDaily