Saturday, January 15, 2011

First power line from Bakun to Bintulu completed

KUCHING: The first line to transmit power from Bakun dam to Similajau, Bintulu, has been completed while Sarawak Energy Bhd's (SEB) Similajau power sub-station in Bintulu is expected to be ready by March.

Works are now underway to construct a power sub-station within the proposed Samalaju Industrial Park to supply electricity to energy-intensive industries like the aluminium smelting and solar panel plants.

Naim Holdings Bhd corporate services and human resource senior director Ricky Kho said the first 118km long Bakun-Similajau transmission line under Package A was completed six months ago.

“We are now constructing the second parallel transmission line under Package B. This new line is expected to be ready in January next year,” he told StarBizWeek yesterday.

Ricky Kho says Naim is constructing a second parallel transmission.

The transmission lines will be linked to the Bakun switch yard, which is connected to the Bakun power house.

The RM209mil Bakun-Similajau transmission line project is undertaken by a joint-venture between China's Sinohydro Corp and Naim Holdings.

According to Bakun dam developer, Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, the Bakun dam is expected to produce its first 300MW in six months.

Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkifle Osman had said wet testing of the first of the eight turbines was expected to be carried out in April when the water level reached between 185m and 190m.

The water level at the dam had now risen to more than 160m since the impoundment started about three months ago.

SEB transmission general manager Victor Wong said the Similajau sub-station project was more than 80% completed, and it would be operational in April.

“All the main structures of the sub-station have been put up, and the contractor is now doing the control wiring,” he added.

The equipment for the sub-station is supplied by Siemens and Areva.

Wong said the Similajau sub-station was designed to handle more than 4,000MW, including all the power produced by the Bakun dam (2,400MW) and Murum dam (944MW ), which is now being built by SEB.

“The Similajau sub-station is part of the state grid, and the bulk of its power will be for use of energy-intensive industries in the Samalaju Industrial Park,” he added.

Wong said these industries would get their power supply from the proposed Samalaju sub-station, expected to be completed next year. SEB plans to develop a 500kV transmission system in stages, in co-ordination with the development of several hydro electric dams in the state.

The current 275kV network will be expanded to tap the 500kV backbone, and to connect all the dams into the state grid system.

Sarawak Hidro is now in advanced negotiations with SEB, which is majority-owned by the Sarawak government, to sell the power from Bakun to the latter.

SEB's wholly-owned Syarikat SESCo generates, transmits, distributes and supplies power to the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors statewide.

On the state's plan to purchase the Bakun Dam, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had said the state government was willing to raise its bid for the dam ownership to RM7bil, from an initial RM6bil, if the federal government could offer flexi payment modes such as in the form of a bridging loan.

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