KUCHING, Oct 31 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg today said the state is proud to play a role in spearheading a shared power grid in Borneo and to work with Indonesia and Singapore to progress the Asean power grid.
He said he is looking forward to building partnerships and mutual collaboration to power sustainable growth for South-east Asia through renewable hydropower sharing.
“We are strong advocates for regional cooperation and the development of the Asean power grid,” he said in his speech at the World Hydropower Congress 2023 in Bali, Indonesia.
He said Sarawak’s first power exchange with Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) in West Kalimantan in 2016 has demonstrated the shared benefits of interconnection, paving the way for other bilateral interconnection projects to advance the Borneo grid.
He said Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) signed a Power Exchange Agreement with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) in 2021 that will trigger the export of power to neighbouring Sabah by mid-2024.
“We are also working on a power exchange agreement with Brunei for electricity export,” he said.
He said building upon this platform; Sarawak has partnered with strong Indonesian partners, Adaro and Kayan Patria Pratama to develop the 1,375MW Mentarang Induk Hydroelectric Project (MIHEP) in North Kalimantan.
On the regional Asean power grid, the premier said the state-owned SEB, together with their partners Sembcorp industries and Singapore Power Group have completed comprehensive technical studies and are well advanced in the commercial negotiations for a potential interconnection with Singapore.
He said Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has given his blessing for Sarawak to have direct connection to Singapore as agreed in the bilateral meeting between Malaysia and Singapore two days ago.
“In the positive spirit of Asean and with full respect for Indonesia’s sovereignty and interests, we will soon commence formal discussions with Indonesia as the proposed undersea interconnection project will run through Indonesian waters,” he said.
“Interconnections are one of the key mechanisms to achieve shared regional sustainability goals in this region, with hydropower as the key renewable energy generation resource that will accelerate the Asean power grid,” he said.
He said studies indicated that Sarawak has at least 8000 megawatts (MW) of hydropower at high-potential sites, of which it has already harnessed 3452MW through three large dams.
“Hydropower development has meant that Sarawak is almost fully electrified, from only 79 per cent in 2009 and the carbon emission intensity of our power grid has decreased by 73 per cent from 2010 to 2021.
“We have moved from 100 per cent fossil fuel since the 1980s to predominantly renewable hydropower in our generation mix today,” he said.
He said the state has the capability to offer the most competitive unsubsidised power tariffs in South-east Asia, and bulk power customers have made significant investments in Sarawak.
“We are now building a fourth dam, which will add 1,285MW of renewable hydropower to the existing capacity before the end of this decade to meet strong demands from domestic and export customers,” he added.
The WHC, themed Renewable Hydropower — Powering Sustainable Growth & Asia’s Net Zero, was opened by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Also present was Malcolm Turnbull, President of International Hydropower Association and Planning for Climate Commissioner.
Source: Malay mail