Bakun Dam to be operational by July 2011
Bakun dam to hit maximum power output by next July (The Borneo Post)
KUCHING: The Bakun hydro dam will be able to produce its maximum power output by July next year, assured Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd managing director/chief executive officer Zulkifle Osman.
As of yesterday, he said the water level has reached 201.5 metres, just short of 8 metres to reach the maximum level of 228 metres.
He also said, currently, some 497 sq km have been covered by water, equivalent to 62.6 per cent of the target area; requiring about 200 sq km more to be filled to complete the artificial lake which will eventually cover an area of 695 sq km.
“We are now in the final stage of preparation to test the first turbine which will eventually be able to produce some 300 megawatts of electricity by July this year,” Zulkifle told The Borneo Post here yesterday.
He said he and his top aides, made up of 20 local and six foreign expatriates, were now monitoring the dam before the first turbine is expected to harness energy by July.
“Everything has to be done and monitored very carefully as any mistake may cause major catastrophes which we cannot afford to make,” stressed Zulkifle.
Zulkifle also disclosed that Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, which is a fully federal-funded project, is still negotiating with the state government on the future of the RM7.2 billion mega project.
“Talks are still ongoing so we cannot say when the deal will be reached between the state government and the federal government on the ownership of the project,” he said.
Sarawak has negotiated with the federal government to buy over the dam for its energy-intensive projects in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) area.
Among the major projects to be implemented under SCORE are aluminium smelting, pulp and paper manufacturing and glass panel manufacturing.
Zulkifle, who had led a team of engineers on the Pergau Dam in Terengganu hydroelectricity project, was roped in for the Bakun project as he has vast knowledge on hydro technology.
“But I always maintain that to successfully complete a mega project like Bakun is not a one-man show but rather a team effort,” he stressed.
Bakun dam has eight massive turbines which could produce 2,400 megawatts once it is fully operational next year.
Zulkifle said the major parts of the trial runs include ‘wet test’ of the turbine.
On another issue, the water level in Rejang River has almost reached normal after the impoundment of the dam started on October 13 last year.
He assured that after the impoundment exercise is over, the water level should be back to normal.
The Rejang River provides the main form of transport for some 30,000 residents living above Kapit town, which has been badly affected by the impoundment exercise.
Meanwhile, Zilkifle stressed that there should be no doubt on the strength of the dam to withstand the strong force of water as it was built to last.
“The dam has been approved by qualified consultants appointed by the state government. The dam was built to last. What matters most is the depth of the dam that can withstand the pressure for long term,” he added.
The Borneo Post (May 24, 2011, Tuesday)
This year, Sarawak’s Bakun Dam will finally be operational.
We as Sarawakians have been waiting for this moment for a long time now.
In the early days, none of us were too sure of what we’d do with such a massive dam.
But now, with SCORE, we have a much clearer idea.
In fact, when foreign investors were informed about SCORE, they couldn’t wait to come to Sarawak and set up their operations here.
Build it and they will come. How very true.