Malayasia scraps 1,200-MW Baram hydropower plant days before state elections

The proposed — and controversial — 1,200-MW Baram hydroelectric plant has been canceled by Malaysian ruling party Barisan Nasional as state elections loom just days from now.

The project was to have seen the construction of a 530-foot-tall dam that would have impounded the Baram River, flooding roughly 150 square miles and displacing a large number of Dayak communities.

Speaking earlier this week, Sarawak Chief Minister Adenn Satem said the southeastern Asian country can make up the expected power gain from Baram through the construction of small hydropower plants, and that the decision to scrap the plant was not due to the state elections that take place May 7.

Opponents of the project still maintain a blockade to the project’s proposed site, citing similar government statements regarding Malaysia’s 2,400-MW Bakun, which was ultimately constructed.

Baram and Bakun were both components in the Malaysian government’s Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy plan, which would have seen at least five hydropower plants built by 2020.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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