Green light to build Baleh dam given to Sarawak Energy


KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) has been given the go-ahead from the state cabinet to build the proposed Baleh hydroelectric dam in the upper Rejang basin in central Sarawak.

The dam would generate 1,285MW of renewable energy when completed in 2025.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit said SEB had received the approval from the state Cabinet to proceed with the project.

The social and environmental impact assessment report was approved by the state authorities last year.

Sjotveit said the development of the Baleh dam project would not require any resettlement of villagers.

“The first of eight construction packages (of the project) is expected to commence before end of the year,” he said in a statement.

Sjotveit said the project’s construction phase was expected to create some 3,500 jobs, adding that SEB was sponsoring young people from Kapit for technical training at local institutions to prepare them for future work opportunities.

The proposed concrete faced rock-fill dam project would be located on the Baleh River, about 95km from its confluence with the Rajang River in the Kapit Division.

The Kapit Division is home to two mega hydroelectric dams – the 2,400MW Bakun dam and the 944MW Murum dam.

Sjotveit said the Baleh dam was set to meet the anticipated strong growth in demand for energy, especially in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu which caters for energy-intensive industries within Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

“Since the commencement of Sarawak’s massive Score initiative,the state’s hydroelectric dams have provided renewable bulk power at global competitive prices to energy intensive investors in Samalaju Industrial Park and Mukah as well as export customers.

“Energy demand has accelerated with power sales growing from 4,700Gwh in 2009 to more than 20,000Gwh in 2016,” he added. SEB has been exporting power to neighbouring west Kalimantan, Indonesia.