KUCHING, July 12 — Sarawak Energy says its 1,285MW Baleh hydroelectric project (HEP) located in Kapit division, central Sarawak, is on track to meet major milestones despite the challenges of managing the movement control order (MCO) limitations while keeping the site team safe from Covid-19 infection.

Sarawak Energy group chief executive officer Datuk Sharbini Suhaili said one of these milestones would be the scheduled completion of the diversion tunnels by the end of August this year.

“As Sarawak Energy’s largest hydropower project to date, Baleh HEP is a key state infrastructure and hydro-industrialisation development project planned as part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) to ensure sufficient energy capacity for Sarawak’s future growth and development,” he said in a statement today.

He said the project supports the state’s ambition of achieving high-income status by 2030.

“The completion of the diversion tunnels is critical towards meeting the overall Baleh HEP project completion by 2026,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Energy executive vice president Pramod Kumar Karunakaran said the river diversion activity is scheduled for completion by October this year with the overall current progress at 66 per cent.

He said the construction of upstream and downstream coffer dams to enable the diversion of the river will start by September this year, after which the main activity of building up the dam could proceed.

According to him, the project comprises six work packages, namely the construction of jetties, roads and bridges; storage for explosive magazines used for rock blasting; the operator’s village which will house the power plant’s staff; diversion tunnels for diversion of the river to enable  construction of the main dam; main civil works; and main electrical and mechanical works.

He said the dual diversion tunnels run parallel to each other over a length of 1.2km, adding that once the tunnels are completed, diversion of Baleh river will begin to enable safe construction works on the main dam. — Bernama