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Mini-hydro plants as solution
Published on: Friday, November 17, 2023
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Mini-hydro plants as solution
Hajiji (third right) posing with CEO Sabah Norbu Hydro, Yip Zhao Lin (fourth left), Edmund (right) and others at the signing.
Kota Kinabalu: Lucro Investments VCC Renewable Energy Fund (REF) – a fund domiciled in Singapore – has partnered with Innoprise Synergy Sdn Bhd (IS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yayasan Sabah Group, Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd, to form a joint venture aimed at addressing Sabah’s critical electricity shortage. 

Together, they would collaborate to develop 1,000 megawatts of mini-hydropower plants in Sabah. The joint venture, known as Sabah Norbu Hydro Sdn Bhd (SNH), is approved by the Sabah government. 

A joint venture agreement was signed between the IS and REF in June 2023. In their inaugural board meeting held on Nov. 2 at their office in Penampang, Sabah, REF Chairman Yip Zhao Lin, IS’ CEO Edmund J. Doudilim and all directors unanimously agreed to ensure the small hydropower project’s construction is executed according to the highest standards of quality, quantity, and timeliness. 

The appointment of PowerChina as the EPC contractor was also unanimously approved. 

SNH plans and is committed to developing and constructing over four phases, small hydropower plants in Sabah with a total power generation capacity of 1,000 megawatts. 

Construction of the first phase is expected to begin in early 2024, and to be completed in 2026. 

“In our commitment to this project, SNH, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Borneo Capital Energy Sdn Bhd (BCE), is actively obtaining all necessary approvals from state and local authorities. 

“BCE has secured approval for conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment Study (EIA) and is in the process of conducting feasibility studies (FS) and environmental protection studies for the rivers, while also receiving work permit approvals from Sabah State Government agencies for Chinese experts to collaborate closely with local consultancy Aktif Fa Konsult Sdn Bhd. 

“For the EPC general construction of this project, we are privileged to partner with PowerChina, the world’s largest power construction company, to complete this historic mission and heavy responsibility. Let the people of Sabah benefit,” Edmund said in a statement.

Prior to the joint venture agreement, the parties conducted a comprehensive study on Sabah’s small hydropower resources and market during the first half of this year. 

Leveraging Sabah’s unique water resource environment, this project not only aims to generate renewable energy but also aims to alleviate the inadequate power supply in Sabah, thereby elevating the living conditions of all Sabah residents. 

The joint venture’s investment plan has garnered robust support from the Sabah government, relevant departments, and secured bank loans to ensure the project’s financial stability. 

SNH’s Executive Director Ye Changming said in light of Sabah’s current severe power shortage, the company is firmly committed to constructing cost-effective small hydropower plants that would significantly contribute to the provision of consistent and uninterrupted power supply in Sabah. 

“Furthermore, it will enhance investor confidence in Sabah due to the reliable power supply. Since these mini-hydropower plants are situated in inland and rural areas, local residents are poised to benefit tremendously,” he said.

The collaborative effort between the REF and IS aligns with the Sabah Energy Roadmap and Master Plan Vision 2040 (SE-RAMP 2040) which promises to pave the way for a dependable, accessible, affordable, and sustainable energy future for Sabah.

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