Murum HEP First Turbine Unit Ready For Operation

On track for a Secure, Sustainable and Affordable Energy Future

BINTULU, 5th DECEMBER 2014, FRIDAY: Sarawak Energy’s Murum Hydro Electric Project (HEP) has reached a key milestone. The first power generating turbine unit of Murum HEP has completed its reliability run and is now ready for operation.

This is the first of four turbine units that had undergone rigorous testing to ready Murum HEP, Sarawak’s largest hydroelectric project, for full commissioning by 2nd quarter of next year.

A ceremony was held at the HEP powerhouse yesterday to signify the official handing over of the first turbine unit to Sarawak Energy from contractor Three Gorges Development Company (M) Sdn Bhd. Present to witness the handing over and to officiate the running of the first turbine set was Sarawak Energy Chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi, accompanied by the company’s senior management team led by its Senior Vice President for Project Execution Einar Kilde and Vice President for Hydro Polycarp HF Wong.

Three Gorges was represented by its General Manager Zhao Jian Qiang. In his speech, Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed said the Sarawak government’s strategy was to develop SCORE by harnessing the state’s abundant hydropower potential to drive the state’s economic growth, job creation and development of wealth for the people of Sarawak.

“With the full commissioning of Murum HEP by next year, our generation mix will be about 75% hydro and 25% thermal. This will lead to more secure, sustainable and affordable energy to power the State’s development agenda,” he said.

He also said that Sarawak Energy is on track to grow the output and consumption of power in the state by more than 8 fold, from approximately 5000 GWh in 2009 to approximately 40 000 GWh per year in 2020.

“Sarawak will eventually be ranked among the energy giants Norway, Iceland and Canada to become one of the most energy rich regions in the world measured per capita. The commissioning of the Murum dam is therefore only the ‘end of the beginning’”, he added.

Speaking on behalf of the Sarawak Energy CEO Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit, Polycarp Wong said with the full commissioning of Murum HEP, Sarawak’s energy supply would reach about 4500MW to supply the energy committed in the SCORE Phase1. “Murum HEP development also marks a major step in Sarawak Energy’s sustainable development journey through our strategic participation as an International Hydro Power Association (IHA) sustainability partner. This is an area that we want to further focus on especially in the way we develop our hydropower projects with a long term perspective of continued improvement.

The IHA Sustainability Protocol that Sarawak Energy is guided by covers a wide spectrum of sustainability topics such as social, environment, safety and governance. Through our early work here, I look forward to the day when Sarawak Energy becomes a global benchmark for sustainability in hydropower development,” he said.

Wong expressed his appreciation to the teams from Sarawak Energy’s Project Execution, Resettlement and Corporate Social Responsibility Departments who had worked hard to implement the Murum project despite many challenges. “Through their commitment, dedication and hard work, they have directly contributed to the development of our state and economy.”

Murum HEP is the second hydroelectric project belonging to Sarawak Energy following the Batang Ai HEP which was commissioned in 1984. The Murum HEP is innovative in its design with the tallest steeped chute spillway in the world. This spillway is currently undergoing testing and due to the dam’s uniqueness the study is of interest to many, including dam designers, contractors and engineers.

The main dam is a roller compacted concrete (RCC) dam with a maximum height above the foundation of 141m. It has a crest elevation of 546 masl. Impoundment of the reservoir started on September 21, 2013 and has reached supply level. Each of the main turbine units has a maximum generating capacity of 236MW. The dam’s powerhouse houses the 4x 236MW vertical Francis turbines which will allow a total installed capacity of 944MW. Other works in progress at Murum includes the Ecological Power Station. The main purpose of the ecological power station is to ensure that the ecosystem of the upper reach of Murum River remains active.

It houses 2x3.7 MW horizontal Francis turbines, with a total installed capacity of 7.4 MW.

Sarawak Energy Chairman Datuk Amar Hamed Sepawi (fourth from left) flanked by (from third left) Senior Vice President for Project Execution Einar Kilde, Three Gorges General Manager Zhao Jian Qiang and Vice President for Hydro Polycarp HF Wong symbolically officiate the running of the first turbine unit as others look on.

Sarawak Energy Chairman Datuk Amar Hamed Sepawi along with the Sarawak Energy team and representatives from Three Gorges pose for a group photo with the first turbine unit in the background.

Murum HEP’s spillway at work.