Sarawak Energy CEO Calls on the Aluminium Industry to Support New Power in ASEAN at World Aluminium Congress

Kuching, 21 May 2014: On Tuesday, 20 May 2014 at the World Aluminium Congress 2014 in Hong Kong, Sarawak Energy CEO, Datuk Torsein Dale Sjotveit, spoke of the important role of hydropower projects in Sarawak in harnessing the State’s renewable energy’s potential and driving Sarawak towards socio-economic prosperity. Benchmarking Sarawak Energy’s focus on hydropower as a clean and sustainable source of energy, Datuk Torstein called on the global aluminium industry to support the development of cost effective power for consumers in ASEAN.

In his presentation, Datuk Torstein, explained: “In recent years, Sarawak Energy has embarked upon a program of massive expansion in support of the State’s economic development strategy, known as the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, or SCORE, in which we have lifted the output of electricity from around 5,000 gigawatt hours in 2010 to 25,000 gigawatt hours in 2016. The essence of SCORE is to leverage Sarawak’s sustainable strategic advantage in bulk hydropower at globally competitive prices to promote investment, growth, jobs and development for the people of Sarawak.’’

This massive investment generates new employment in semi-skilled and skilled occupations, which provides the opportunity for the people of Sarawak to achieve a higher income and better standards of living.  Hydropower also has a unique capacity to bring development to remote areas in the deep interior.

“To date our strategy has been highly successful.  Sarawak Energy has signed thirteen agreements with customers for a total of 2560 megawatts (MW). In addition to customers from manganese, ferroalloys and silicon, Sarawak Energy is also supplying power to aluminium producer Press Metal,” added Datuk Torstein.

Datuk Torstein added that the reason energy intensive industries from around the world are investing in Sarawak is because: it offers abundant, stable and competitively priced electricity; an excellent location, in the centre of ASEAN and in close proximity to India and China; a young and educated workforce; and a capable, stable and pro-development State Government.

“As other ASEAN countries grapple to provide the new power generation required for the growing middle class, Sarawak provides a strong example of the role that the aluminium industry can play in lifting large efficient generation projects like the Bakun hydroelectric project. Specifically, the global aluminium industry can make a real contribution to regional development in ASEAN by taking bulk power at prices required to lift a new generation,’’ added Datuk Torstein.

In addition to the Bakun plant which was commissioned in 2011 and the Murum project that will produce power for the first time later this year, Sarawak Energy is working on more hydropower projects, which are at various stages of feasibility study or pre-engineering.  Collectively, the future plants would transform Sarawak into an energy powerhouse in the ASEAN region. The development of these projects will only commence after Sarawak Energy has completed the necessary social and environmental impact assessments.

Sarawak Energy’s projections indicate that by the middle of the next decade, residential, retail and commercial customers in Sarawak will require 2,000 MW, while SCORE customers will consume at least 6,000 MW. The State’s GDP is expected to expand 5-fold by 2030, with approximately 1.6million jobs to be created when SCORE is fully operational.