CM: Sarawak will have sufficient supply of electricity beyond 2030 with completion of 1,285MW Baleh dam in 2026

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg (wearing dark face mask) is briefed on the construction progress of the Baleh dam during a site visit on July 7, 2020. — Picture courtesy of the Chief Minister’s Office
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg (wearing dark face mask) is briefed on the construction progress of the Baleh dam during a site visit on July 7, 2020. — Picture courtesy of the Chief Minister’s Office

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BALEH, July 7 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today said Sarawak will have enough energy for the anticipated rapid growth in organic and industrial demand for electricity beyond 2030, with the completion of the Baleh dam by 2026.

He said the 1,285-megawatt Baleh dam will join the Bakun dam (2,400MW), Murum dam (944MW) and Batang Ai dam (100MW) in generating renewable energy for the state.

“Renewable energy will be key to Sarawak’s economy towards 2030 and beyond,” he said after being briefed on the progress of the Baleh dam here.

The chief minister said Sarawak’s future for sustainable energy security lies in hydropower generation.

He added the completion of the Baleh dam will strengthen the state’s position as the regional powerhouse for renewable energy.

He said the state, with an abundant supply of energy, will devise a power tariff to attract foreign investment.

This was Abang Johari’s first visit to the project site for a first-hand view of one of Sarawak’s largest strategic infrastructure development projects which will boost renewable hydropower generation and energy security for Sarawak.

Accompanying the chief minister were Deputy Chief Minister and Baleh state assemblyman Tan Sri Datuk Amar James Jemut Masing, state Utilities Minister Datuk Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion and Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong.

They were received by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi, group chief executive officer Datuk Sharbini Suhaili and senior management executives.

Abang Johari boarded a helicopter for an aerial view of the progress of the civil works for the main dam, including the construction of the tunnel portal diversion, which is a significant part of the works package.

Baleh dam is the largest civil works project by a Sarawak government-owned company and will serve as another milestone in the renewable energy and development strategy of Sarawak.

The chief minister gave his assurance that the government would ensure that people in the locality would enjoy the benefits of being near the source of power with step-down facilities in order to have a supply of energy to their homes and cater to agriculture needs.

“We have learned from our mistakes such as in Batang Ai where people in the immediate vicinity of the dam were bypassed by the power supply,” he added.

Hamed said SEB is doing its best to keep the project on track despite the setbacks it faced due to Covid-19 and other challenges.

“We will need the support of all stakeholders to ensure the smooth execution of the project in order to meet our target project commissioning in 2026,” he said, adding that construction of the dam has now resumed at an accelerated pace.

Located on the Baleh River, about 105km upstream from the confluence with the Rejang River in Kapit, the 188m-high concrete faced rockfill Baleh dam is one of Sarawak’s largest infrastructure projects.

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