KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia's first environmentally-friendly geothermal power plant is one step closer to reality as teams of researchers comb a forest area in Sabah's east coast for sites of green energy. Geological, geophysical and geochemical teams ware surveying the Apas site in Tawau district to identify the sites for the first two 2000m deep geothermal exploration wells.
Project proponent Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd director Andrew Amaladoss said the company was also building an 10km access road to enable equipment to be brought into the site. The company, he added, had received a RM35mil facilitation grant from the state government to build the road that was currently about 60% completed. He said it had signed a deal with Mexican engineering fiorm Alstom Mexicana for the design, construction, testing and commissioning of a 36MW power plant due to be completed in 2016.
During a briefing on the project yesterday, Amaladoss said Tawau Green Energy would also be signing a five-year operational and maintenance agreement with Alstom Mexicana. Tawau Green Energy, he said, would be constructing a high voltage transmission line to supply the generated power to utility firm Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) with which had signed a 21-year deal to supply 30MW of electricity.
"We are just a small player in the bigger picture and we are supplementing SESB's generation capacity," said Amaladoss. Costing some RM572mil, the geothermal power plant project will be funded by local financial institutions.