Abang Johari (second right) receives a memento from Abdul Hamed (2nd left) as Masing (center), Rundi (right) and Sharbini (left) look on.

BALEH HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT

KUCHING: The Baleh Hydroelectric Project (HEP) is crucial to securing energy capacity needed for the development of Sarawak.

Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said while there may be sufficient power for now, there is a need to plan and prepare for what is ahead for the future.

“Energy poverty is a major obstacle to prosperity and progress in other countries and we do not want to have this happen to Sarawak,” he said in media release issued by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) on Tuesday (July 7).

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing together with Dr Rundi had visited the Baleh HEP project on Monday (July 7).

He said the support and cooperation of the Baleh and Kapit communities who are directly and indirectly affected are essential to the successful implementation of projects of this magnitude.

“For this, we thank the residents of Baleh and Kapit for their support,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Energy chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi, said the Baleh HEP is a project to benefit all of Sarawak in the long run.

“We are doing our best to keep the project on track despite the set-backs we faced due to Covid-19 and other challenges,” he said.

He said construction of the Baleh HEP has now resumed at an accelerated speed.

“We will need the support from all stakeholders to ensure the smooth execution of the project in in time for the commissioning in 2026,” said Abdul Hamed.

Located on the Baleh River, about 105km upstream from the confluence with the Rejang River in Kapit, the 188m-high Concrete Faced Rockfill Baleh Dam is one of Sarawak’s largest infrastructure projects.

It is also the largest HEP developed by Sarawak Energy and will generate 1,285MW of renewable energy to the grid when it is fully commissioned by 2026.

All of Sarawak Energy’s hydropower dams are designed and constructed following stringent guidelines set by the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) to withstand extreme floods.

It is also in accordance with guidelines set out by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol of the International Hydropower Association.