SEB to begin linking Borneo grid after 2020, eyes electricity sales to Sabah

Datu Sharbini Suhaili.

KUCHING, March 23: Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) expects to begin connecting the whole of Borneo with its power grid after its northern Sarawak grid in Lawas is commissioned and fully connected in the year 2020.

Its group chief executive officer Sharbini Suhaili said this is part of the company’s future plans and its regional ambition’s first step towards realising the Asean Grid.

Speaking to reporters during SEB’s Media Business Update 2018 at its headquarters at the Kuching Isthmus this morning, he said by connecting the whole of Borneo’s power grid together, Sarawak through SEB would be in line to become one of the region’s leading utility companies, as well as provide extensive electricity coverage to rural areas.

“We have been selling power to West Kalimantan since 2016. Currently we are in negotiations with Sabah as a potential power export (destination), and are looking at the potential power development in North Kalimantan, and hopefully Brunei as well.

“However to make these things happen, we must complete our ongoing northern grid in Sungai Kota 2, Lawas with the 10.5 megawatt (MW) run-of-river mini hydroelectricity dam, expected to be completed by the end of this year,” he said.

Members of the media are seen attending the SEB Media Business Update 2018 at SEB headquarters at the Kuching Isthmus, chaired by Sharbini (facing front, seated fourth from right).

He added that Sarawak has the lowest electricity tariffs in the country, which was at an average of 28.5sen per kW per hour unsubsidised. Tenaga Nasional Berhad has an average tariff of about 39 sen per kW per hour while Sabah has about 33sen.

Apart from that, Sharbini said, SEB was also in the midst of completing the Tanjung Kidurong, Bintulu gas power plant that would add some 841 MW of power to the northern grid.

He explained that presently Block 1 of the Tanjung Kidurong gas power plant was at 30 per cent completion and is expected to be commissioned by the year 2020. Block 2 would begin construction soon and was expected to be commissioned the year after Block 1.

At the same time, expansion works to the existing facility was also being carried out, bringing the overall total cost of the gas power plant development to about RM4 billion, Sharbini added.

Meanwhile, the construction of the Baleh hydroelectric dam is currently underway and is expected to be commissioned in the year 2025. The dam would be able to generate about 1,285 MW of electricity, resulting in Sarawak’s energy generation relying less on unsustainable fossil fuel.

Sharbini (front row, seated centre) is seen during a photo-call with members of the media attending SEB’s Media Business Update 2018 at its headquarters at the Kuching Isthmus.

Currently SEB through its various power generation plants produces about 4,652 MW of electricity, of which 74 per cent is hydro-powered, 0.5 per cent is from alternative energy such as solar power, while the rest is from fossil fuel.

The state coverage in major towns and cities currently stands at 95 per cent while rural coverage is at 90 per cent.

Sharbini said SEB hoped that it would be able to achieve 100 per cent coverage throughout the state, including rural areas. — DayakDaily