KOTA KINABALU: Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd (TGE) is embarking on a RM572 million project to produce geothermal energy in Tawau.
The project, once completed will be Malaysia's first renewable energy power plant utilizing geothermal energy resources, TGE project director Andrew Amaladoss said.
According to him, the 36MW power plant located near the Tawau Hills Park is expected to be completed within 36 months.
Only about 20 per cent of the plant located in the Park, itself, he said, adding that the project will involve the building of 12 wells through which the natural steam or hot water will be drawn to produce energy.
Geothermal, Andrew said, is one of the cleanest forms of renewable energy with carbon footprints very much lower than that of coal, fossil oil and natural gas.
"When compared with fossil fuel as a source of energy, the carbon footprint geothermal power is 65 times less than that of coal, 49 times less than of fossil oil and 40 times less than that of natural gas," he said at Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreement (REPPA) signing ceremony between TGE and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) here yesterday.
Under the terms of the REPPA, TGE will export 30MW to the SESB Grid for 21 years from the commercial operation of the power plant which is expected to be in Q3 2016.
The project which will provide employment opportunities to locals during its construction and operation will compromise three major components, namely the steamfield development comprising exploration, production and injection wells, steam power plant of gross capacity 36MW utilizing single flash technology and interconnection facilities including a new 132/33kV main intake substation to enable export of power from the power plant to the SESB Grid.
According to Andrew, unlike conventional power plants where capital investment is relatively low and operational cost high, geothermal power plant are highly capital intensive mainly due to significant cost in developing the steamfield , but have relatively low operational costs.
With proper and scientific management of the geothermal reservoir, the resource can be sustained over many decades to provide clean and reliable power he added.
Meanwhile, SESB managing director Datuk Baharin Din said the state utility company welcomed renewable energy initiatives and developments as it not only will help Sabah in diversifying its source of energy and generation mix but also indirectly reduce its dependency on power that is generated from the burning of non-renewable fossil fuel.
"This in turn would aid towards conservation of environment in Sabah and Malaysia as a whole," he said.
Baharin said the pioneering work and development of the geothermal initiative will indefinitely bring forth positive impact towards infrastructure development through aspects of power supply in Tawau.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun who was invited to witness the signing ceremony, in his speech stressed that Sabahans are very protective of the state's environment.
"To have a power plant which exploits what is naturally produced is good as we want to create environmentally friendly power generation. However, the irony of it is that the projects we implement may not be in the interest of some people.
"We are in a catch 22 situation…for example if we want to build a dam for hydro power , there will be villagers whose land will be involved and sometime the Government has to make quick decisions for the interest of the future generation," he lamented.
Masidi congratulated TNB, SESB and Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd for signing such a unique agreement as it shows the world that this can be done.
Source from: The Borneo Post
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