Outgoing Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) CEO Torstein Dale Sjotveit has denied allegations of an over-production of power in Sarawak.
“There won’t be over-production if there’s a market,” he said at his last media conference.
He added that power generated in the state can also be used in Sabah, Brunei and Kalimantan.
Sarawak’s energy plans, at present, are based on “exporting” power to energy-intensive industries in the SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy) in Central Sarawak.
Sjotveit was commenting on the state government’s plans to build 12 hydro-electric power (HEP) dams. He hastened to add, however, that “Sarawak will proceed only if there’s a need to do it”.
“We need to do it when it’s needed. Not because it is a plan. We do it when the market is there,” he was quoted as saying in a Borneo Post report on the media conference.
Sjotveit argued the public utility giant already had the organisation and skills to do it.
“It’s just a matter of wanting to do it and do it when it’s needed,” he said at a question-and-answer session at Menara Sarawak Energy on Thursday.
The proposed 12 dams were the focus of the media conference, with the main concern being when the projects will commence.
It was previously reported that the network of 12 dams would produce 30,000 MW of electricity for SCORE, with some experts warning against 40 per cent transmission losses if the HEP was exported to Johor via undersea cables.
According to Sjotveit, 99 per cent of rural households in Sarawak will have electricity within the next five years.
The SEB chief also said that 70,882 new households were provided with electricity since 2009, with another 40,000 households to be connected as well.
He added 10,000 households would be connected to the grid, 4,000 to the federal-funded Off Grid Alternative Supply and 8,000 under the off-grid Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares).
“Studies are needed to find optimal solution for the other 18,000 households.”
Sjotveit is scheduled to leave SEB at the end of his contract period this month. He has been with SEB since 2009 as CEO.
Chief Minister Adenan Satem had aborted the 1000MW Baram Dam in June last year. Baram, one of the 12 dams, apparently needs more studies by international dam and environment experts.
The 1285MW Baleh Dam, the fourth dam, was approved by the Sarawak Cabinet on June 30 this year. Work on the project is expected to kick off early next year.
SEB owns the 944MW Murum Dam completed last year. Its 100MW Batang Ai Dam in Lubuk Antu was completed three decades ago.
The 2400MW Bakun Dam, owned by the Federal Government, was completed in 2010 after being delayed for many years.
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