Sarawak Energy finalizes 2,400-MW Bakun hydropower purchase amidst new contract for 1,285-MW Baleh project

Sarawak state-owned electricity utility, Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), announced it has completed its acquisition of the 2,400-MW Bakun hydropower project, the country’s largest project, located on the island of Boreneo in Sarawak, Malaysia.

According to the utility, last week it completed the purchase from Malaysia’s federal government for about RM2.5 billion (US$583 million).

In the midst of Bakun purchase, earlier this month SEB awarded the contract for the main civil works of the 1,285-MW Baleh hydroelectric plant, also located in Sarawak, to a joint venture owned by China Gezhouba Group and Untang Jaya.

The amount of the contract is not immediately available.

Construction on the Baleh project is expected to begin in October 2018. It includes a 204-meter high concrete faced rockfill dam on the Baleh River, an intake structure, a spillway and penstocks and is planned to be fully commissioned in 2025.

The Baleh project is the second development being implemented under SEB’s Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) initiative. SCORE includes advancing the development of currently feasible hydropower projects, including 900-MW Murum, 150-MW Limbang, 1,000-MW Barang, and Baleh.

The Malaysia’s second-largest hydro project, the 944-MW Murum hydroelectric plant commissioned in September 2016, is also in Sarawak and was the first project developed under SCORE.

Sharbini Suhaili, Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer said, “I am pleased to announce that we now own the 2,400-MW Bakun hydropower project, the largest hydropower plant in the country. This achievement was made possible through our Chief Minister YAB Datuk Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg’s strong leadership and support.

“This will allow us to consolidate power production, enabling us to have full ownership and operatorship of all major electricity generation facilities in Sarawak,” Suhaili, said. “We are grateful to the Sarawak Government for their continuing trust in Sarawak Energy to deliver the State’s strategy to develop and consolidate Sarawak’s energy resources.”

In March, reported Sarawak Chief Minister, Abang Johari Tun Openg, announced SEB purchased the entire equity shares of Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd (SBSB), owner/operator of the Bakun hydropower facility. Malaysia’s Finance Ministry and Federal Land Commission owned 100% of SBSB.

The acquisition is being funded through a mix of Sarawak Energy’s internally generated funds and external financing, according to the utility.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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