Published on: Sunday, August 18, 2013
Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili said construction of the Upper Padas Hydroelectric Project (UPHEP) situated at the Padas basin, up-stream of Kuala Tomani in Tenom, would proceed next year.
With a capacity of 180 MW, the project is targeted for completion in 2019.
Dr Ongkili said the project had been approved with a government soft loan of RM569 million for SESB's equity injection into a special purpose company to be set up to undertake the project.
The total project cost is estimated at RM2.3 billion, he said, when opening PBS Kemabong division AGM, Saturday, where he informed the division members on the Government measures to improve electricity supply in Sabah.
Earlier, Dr Ongkili, who is also PBS deputy president, made an aerial inspection of the project site as well as the existing Tenom Pangi hydro power station.
On the potential of the project, he said the UPHEP would not involve a large water catchment area at only 590 hectares or involving 2.3 hectares per megawatt.
In comparison, the Bakun hydroelectric project requires up to 29 hectares of land per megawatt of power generated and the Murum hydro with 26 hectares per megawatt.
"Hence, this project can qualify for the Clean Development Mechanism status under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change," he said.
Furthermore, he said, the construction of the UPHEP would not only increase SESB's capability to generate power but also provide a flood mitigation measure especially for Beaufort and Tenom.
He also stressed that the project would create employment for 1,000 people during the construction as well as resuscitate the economy in Tenom.
"This infrastructure is expected to save the Government about RM4bil in 40 years of the project operation as it is undertaken by SESB and a consortium to be set up by the federal government.
This can also subsequently reduce SESB's dependency on government subsidy, aside from costs and losses saved from possible flooding," he said.
The State Government, he added, would ensure the preservation of the ecosystem at the project site.
SESB is currently conducting a detailed engineering study and relevant activities associated with the special Environment Impact Assessment study.