CM visits Baleh Hydroelectric Project that will boost Sarawak’s energy security

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today visited the Baleh Hydroelectric Project (HEP), one of Sarawak’s largest strategic infrastructure development projects which when commissioned, will boost renewable hydropower generation and energy security for the state.

A statement issued by his office states that Abang Johari was accompanied by his deputy, Tan Sri James Jemut Masing; Sarawak Utilities Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; State Secretary, Datuk Amar Jaul Samion and Hulu Rajang Member of Parliament, Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong.

They were received upon arrival by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) chairman, Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi and its group chief executive officer, Datuk Sharbini Suhaili.

Prior to his arrival at the project site, Abang Johari flew over Baleh HEP for his first 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.

This was followed by a presentation by Baleh HEP project director, Tan Hang Kiak on the milestones in the management of the project.

Baleh HEP is the largest civil works project by a Sarawak government-owned company and will serve as an additional milestone in the state’s renewable energy and development strategy.

Once commissioned by 2026, this project will pave the way for Sarawak to have sufficient energy to cater for the anticipated rapid growth in organic and industrial demand for electricity as the state progresses in its ambition to become a high-income economy by 2030.

Meanwhile, Rundi said Baleh HEP was crucial towards securing the energy capacity needed for the development of Sarawak.

“While we may have sufficient power for now, we need to plan and prepare ahead for the future. Energy poverty is a major obstacle to prosperity and progress in other countries and we do not want this to happen to Sarawak,” he added.

Located on Baleh River, about 105 kilometres upstream from the confluence with Rejang River in Kapit, the 188m-high, concrete-faced rockfill Baleh Dam is the largest HEP developed by SEB. It will generate 1,285 megawatts of renewable energy to the grid upon its full commission.