Sarawak Governor Officiates Murum HEP Opening

Additional 944MW of renewable, sustainable and affordable energy for Sarawak

MURUM, 27th SEPTEMBER 2016, TUESDAY: The State marked a significant milestone with the official opening of the Murum Hydroelectric Plant (HEP) in the Belaga District, Kapit Division today. The plant provides up to 944MW of sustainable, renewable and affordable energy for Sarawak, and additional power for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Sarawak Governor  His Excellency Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud officiated at the opening of the Murum HEP joined by the Right Honourable Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, State Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, State Assemblymen, government officials, community leaders, residents of the Murum Resettlement Area as well as other local communities.

Sarawak Energy was represented by its Chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi, members of the board, Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit, Group Chief Executive Officer and the senior management team. 

Murum HEP is Sarawak Energy’s first hydropower development project under SCORE, and its second after Batang Ai HEP was commissioned 30 years ago.  

Murum HEP marks further success in the State’s development strategy for Sarawak to reach high income status by 2030. 

It took a team of 2,500 people to complete the RM4.1 billion mega structure. Impoundment of the reservoir started on September 21, 2013 and the dam is designed to have a maximum power output of 944MW with an average annual energy output of 5,952GWh. 

The Murum HEP began its commercial operation in December 2014, and was fully commissioned in June 2016. Its timely completion contributed significantly to the decision to reduce electricity tariffs for domestic, commercial and industrial non-SCORE customers in Sarawak by the State Government in 2015.  Sarawak-based customers enjoy the lowest rates in Malaysia and among the lowest in the region.  

The dam is innovative in its design with its tallest steeped chute spillway in the world and also accommodates an Ecological Power Station with the main purpose of providing 24-hour supply to the resettlement areas and ensuring the ecosystem of the area immediately downstream of the dam remains active.

The demand for globally competitively priced bulk energy in Sarawak has been exceptionally strong, driven by SCORE customers located in the Samalaju Industrial Park and Mukah. Since 2010, Sarawak Energy has signed 14 firm power purchase agreements (PPAs) with customers from power intensive industries and export customers, representing a committed demand of 3,000MW.  

Murum HEP provides the power to meet almost a third of the SCORE generated demand with the remainder from the Bakun HEP and the upcoming Balingian Coal Fired Plant.   

In his speech, Hamed said he believed that Murum HEP demonstrated Sarawak Energy's ability to deliver a world class project in the technical and sustainability aspects, including facilitating resettlement with the government.

Hamed reiterated Sarawak Energy’s commitment to sustainability. In executing the project, Sarawak Energy strives to be sensitive to the needs of the affected communities and sustainable efforts were taken to minimise the impact of the project to the environment.  

“Murum HEP has changed the socio-economic landscape of the Murum area especially the livelihood of the people directly benefiting from this project. We have a strong commitment to continue to work together with villagers from Murum and partner agencies to raise living standards and preserve the cultural heritage at the same time,” he said. 

The seven villages in the Murum resettlement areas now enjoy 24 hour electricity, in addition to clean water and access to telecommunication services.

Significant progress experienced by the communities at the resettlement areas are better housing, better amenities and facilities, better access to medical and education, increase in literacy rate, increased enrollment in formal education among the Penan children, skill and technical training for the youth and entrepreneurship growth in terms of small business opportunities and production of handicrafts through diversifying the skills of the Penan artisans. 

Care was also given to the wildlife and the environment during the construction and impoundment stages which saw Sarawak Energy working with Sarawak Forestry Corporation on a WiMor or Wildlife Monitoring and Rescue Operation to relocate thousands of species of flora and fauna. 

Yesterday, a blessing ceremony of the Batu Tungun was held at Batu Tungun Park overlooking the rock formation that is considered sacred to the local Penans.  There to officiate at the ceremony was YB Liwan Lagang, the Assistant Minister for River Transportation and Safety who is also Belaga Assemblyman. The event also saw the presentation of incentives under the Belaga Penan Education Fund to 266 Penan students from SK Tegulang and SK Metalun.  The fund is parked under the Bakun Charitable Trust which Sarawak Energy supports.  

Located on the Murum River in the upper Rajang River in the Belaga District, Kapit Division, Murum HEP consists of a main dam, a power intake, a power plant of four vertical shaft Francis Turbines (4x 236MW), generators and a double circuit 275kV transmission line from Murum Power Station to Murum Junction Substation.

In the development of Murum HEP, Sarawak Energy was guided by international best practices - incorporating recommendations from the International Hydropower Association (IHA) Protocol and the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) as well as local requirements set out under the Social Impact Assessment report and the Resettlement Action Plan.