Sarawak: So the dam-building frenzy begins…

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Uncertainty continues to hang over what to do with all the electricity from the 2,400MW Bakun Dam. Few know for sure if the undersea cables will be actually laid, given the enormous risks involved. Anyway, the electricity for that dam was supposed to go to the peninsula.

So now they have this new plan to build the RM3 billion 940MW Murum Dam as part of the 12-dams-for-Sarawak project. And the award goes to… a Chinese firm. Who is going to use all this electricity? Would that be the aluminium smelter Salco? That’s a joint venture between Rio Tinto and CMS (ring a bell?) And which company is likely to benefit most from the supply of materials for the construction of all these dams?

Wait a minute, what is in the Environmental Impact Assessment? What does it say? Nobody – apart from those involved – knows. Has a Social Impact Assessment been done? What about proper resettlement planning? There are about 1,000 Penan in the area, I believe.

And what about the water catchment areas above the Murum – like at the Danum and Plieran tributaries? Isn’t there some logging, clearing of forest, acacia plantation and oil palm cultivation work going on there? What kind of impact will all that have on the dam? Chew on that.

Who is funding this project? I hope the big banks and financial institutions involved will abide by their sustainable development principles. We will be watching.

This from the Borneo Post:

Chinese firm to build Murum Dam

By The Borneo Post Business Desk Team

RM3 bln 940MW dam project to provide jobs for 5,000 people; ready in five years time

00004707.jpg
TOWARDS A NEW­ ERA OF POWER SUFFICIENCY: An architectural impression of the Murum Dam and inset, the Murum Dam facility (powerhouse) will look like once completed.

KUCHING: The proposal from the China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC), a state-owned Chinese investment body, to build Sarawak’s third hydro-power dam in Murum in central Sarawak has been accepted by the Sarawak government.

Sources told The Borneo Post yesterday that the state cabinet made the decision on Thursday last week.

According to the sources, the project cost for the 940MW dam is about RM3 billion and the contract period is five years.

Negotiations will start immediately on its details such as technical and engineering aspects between Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), the state-owned listed power conglomerate, and the Chinese firm.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies have been completed.

However, details of such studies are not immediately available.

The Chinese corporation is the financier, developer and operator of the US$25 billion, 22,500MW Three Gorges Dam now in the final stage of construction in the Yangtze River.

Another Chinese company Sino-Hidro, which is already involved in the Bakun and Bengoh dams in Sarawak, also made a bid for the Murum Dam, one of a series of 12 dams that the state government through SEB plans to develop over the next 12 years to produce about 7,000MW of electricity for state and national needs.

The sources said the target date for completion of the Murum Dam is 2011 and work could start as early as September or end of this year.

SEB went to China thrice this year to make presentation to CTGPC to invite its participation in the development of hydro-power in Sarawak in anticipation of several large energy-intensive industries, including the proposed aluminium smelter plant in Similajau in Bintulu.

With the go-ahead of the Murum Dam project and the on-going 2,400MW Bakun Dam, by the early 2010s Sarawak will have produced a total of about 4,000MW of electricity, largely hydro-power, cutting down on other sources, especially diesel which is becoming increasingly costly per unit of production.

Hydro-power is the cleanest, safest, cheapest in the long run and with the least environmental impact, given today’s available technology.

Sarawak’s first hydro dam is Batang Ai built in the 1970s with capacity to produce about 180MW, with a Japanese yen credit.

It is already supplying electricity to parts of Sarawak. Bakun is the second dam but due to several factors is slightly behind time.

The sources told The Borneo Post that at the height of its construction period as many as 5,000 workers would be employed in the Murum Dam.

The area to be flooded in the Murum Dam is said to be largely uninhabited.

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Jeong Chun Phuoc

Note: This letter of notification was forwarded to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) for immediate action on 12 november 2010.

Jeong Chun Phuoc

“Sarawak Hidro In Breach Of Downstream Environment Study/Report : Conduct Immediate Investigation” 12 November 2010 The allegation/claim by former environment advisor(Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit) to the Sarawak state government as reported in the article “DAWOS: SARAWAK HIDRO DID NOT FOLLOW RULES”, The Star, 12 Nov 2010 at page N8) is a serious allegation which may attract both legal and criminal implications. From the legal perspective, the grave claim made by Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit deserves an immediate investigation by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and/or the State Department of Environment(DOE) because it claimed to have breached… Read more »

Jeong Chun Phuoc

“Sarawak Hidro In Breach Of Downstream Environment Study/Report : Conduct Immediate Investigation” 12 November 2010 The allegation/claim by former environment advisor(Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit) to the Sarawak state government as reported in the article “DAWOS: SARAWAK HIDRO DID NOT FOLLOW RULES”, The Star, 12 Nov 2010 at page N8) is a serious allegation which may attract both legal and criminal implications. From the legal perspective, the grave claim made by Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit deserves an immediate investigation by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and/or the State Department of Environment(DOE) because it claimed to have breached… Read more »

taskforce101

I somehow feel the black out was staged so that the dams and IPPs can be justified just like in 1993.

iban_sebuti

MIRI: A state-wide power cut in Sarawak on Saturday evening saw the blackout affect more than two million people over a distance of 1,000km from Kuching to Miri. Cities and towns in the state were plunged into total darkness causing massive chaos as everybody was caught by surprise. The power failure started in Kuching at about 6.30pm Saturday and rapidly spread northward to Sibu then to Miri by 7.30pm. Deputy chief minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam when contacted by The Star confirmed that it was a blackout that seemed to have affected the main power grid. “We… Read more »

ibanjohor

…Or “Sarawak – The Land of The Drowned Hornbill”

Anyway, heard about the gomen insisting of EIA of the SCORE. Anyone has the EIA answer out there yet?

Now the EIA on the 12 damns. When will the EIA made public? Damn them!!

Jefferson

Don’t worry about that too much, sir

because after the completion of these dams, Sarawak shall known to the world as “Sarawak, The Land of Hydrodam”…

No more hornbills because… I guess they has extinct already!!!

cyf

I lived in the Peninsula and frankly speaking knows little about Sabah and Sarawak. From my limited knowledge, there are still thousands of rural villagers in Sarawak with limited or even no access to AFFORDABLE power and potable water. If you have visited Sabah and Sarawak, you may have found out that their petrol service station are still selling kerosene. Why? I guess one of the reasons os that they need to lit up kerosene lamps at night. Many still depends on diesel powered generators. And talking about “development”, they claimed that construction of the Murum Dam could create more… Read more »

Malaysian Niah...

sarawakians live in the jungle too long to even know that all these while there are being screwed by the BN led government and cronies …they will be continued to be screwed until the day they decide no longer to elect BN as their government of choice….

calvin

Why do you care if the Bakun electricity goes to MALAYA or not. Why you Penangites should care if Sarawak has excess capacity thousand times more than it really need. We did our studies and found all these damns are environmental friendly. Ask Salang or Masing if you don’t believe me. Yes it will submerged lands at least five or ten time the size of Singapore or Penang! So what? Actually we are proud of that for goodness sake. You know we kinda pity Singapore for trying to make an island out of tiny pedra (pulau batu putih that Abdullah… Read more »

rajraman666

Anil,

You ask,
1.Who going to benefits – Dammmmmm piss off GUY with their sidekick.
2.Who going to Finance – simple as abc – our tax payer money end of the day.
3.Social impact studies – Our social life already in mess after they Sodomised us throu their one sided news.

rajraman.Have you sign Haris Ibrahim Petition to the KING?

CT Choo

Don’t forget to add the environmental disasters that many of these so-called investors have been involved in elsewhere. I have highlighted this in my blog.

http://ctchoolaw.blogspot.com/2008/07/sarawak-to-build-12-dams-to-meet-future.html

amoker

Again, solar power is more clean. 1000 megawatt at less that RM1 billion. Build 3 at RM3 billion and it will supercede this stupid damn thing at the same cost.