KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) said the development of Baleh Dam in Kapit, the fourth hydroelectric dam in Sarawak, has reached five per cent completion and is expected to be fully completed in 2025. 

SEB chief executive officer James Ung said the seven-year project was still in the early stages with the construction progress expected to move into high gear  from next year.

“By the end of this year, our target is eight per cent. The Baleh project is a big project; we have many packages  but the most important is the dam  and there are the power house, transmission line, road, operator village and many other things.

“Today, our top (priority) is building the infrastructure -  the road, houses -  and then do a bit of preparation for the ground work, so the physical building of the dam  has not started yet. We may start next year.

“Currently, there may be a few hundred workers but during the peak period in the next two or three years, the project will involve 3,000 or 5,000 workers, perhaps of different nationalities,” Ung told Bernama.   

With the construction of the RM9 billion Baleh hydroelectric dam, Sarawak hopes to keep the electricity tariff as among the lowest and competitive in the region.

Meanwhile, on the state government’s proposal to initiate hydrogen power for transportation in the country’s biggest state, Ung said SEB would start a discussion to lay the foundations for a hydrogen power programme.

“We see the potential of hydrogen power in the future.  Not immediately because today the cost of producing hydrogen is still high, just like solar energy. We are looking into the future, about five to 10 years down the line,” he said.

Ung said hydrogen had the potential to emerge as an energy source, thus the Sarawak state government wanted to embark on the hydrogen industry now. 

“So, we are more on learning, researching and understanding what other people are doing and at the same time, we are doing a bit by ourselves and learning from it,” he added. – Bernama