Geothermal Power Plant In Tawau Abandoned Despite Millions Spent

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Apas Kiri project site in Tawau when works was in progress. – photo source: Tawau Green Energy

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s first geothermal power plant project in Sabah, which should have been operational by Dec 31, 2017, has been found abandoned and overgrown with weeds, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said based on her visit to the site of the project, which was implemented on July 2, 2015, the plant was not showing any progress.

“For example, drilling stopped in the third quarter of 2016 and the slim holes had been closed … all cabins and drilling equipment were no longer at the site, no workers were found there and the area is covered with overgrowth,” she said during the minister’s question time.

YEO BEE YIN

Yeo was replying to the original question by Chan Foong Hin (PH-Kota Kinabalu), who wanted the government to state the status on the construction of the power plant in Apas Kiri, Tawau.

The project, which was developed by Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd, appeared to have stopped operations and therefore on Aug 29, 2018, the government, through the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda), decided to cancel the approval given.

Yeo said the 37-megawatt generation incentive quota from the project would be redistributed to other viable renewable energy projects especially biogas, biomass and hydro.

Nothing but overgrown weeds to show, after millions of ringgit was spent to develop the plant. Timber found in the project site is said to have been chopped down. – Photo courtesy of Foong Hin Chan

On a supplementary question by Chan on whether the government would ensure the project is saved as RM35 million from Private Public Partnership Unit had been spent, Yeo said at the moment, there are plans for the project.

“This is because geothermal projects sometimes cost more than new energy sources but we will study the technology and suitability of the project from time to time.

“When it makes business sense, we will continue with implementation. Nonetheless, we will offer the project again through open tender,” she said.