BALEH: The Baleh Hydroelectric Project (HEP) is crucial in securing the energy capacity needed for the development of Sarawak, said Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

He said that Sarawak may have sufficient power for now, but the state also needs to plan and prepare what is ahead for the future.

“Energy poverty is a major obstacle to prosperity and progress in other countries and we do not want this to happen to Sarawak.

“The support and cooperation of the local Baleh and Kapit communities who are directly and indirectly affected are essential to the successful implementation of the projects of this magnitude.

“For this, we have to thank the residents of Baleh and Kapit for their support,” he said this when accompanying the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s visit to Baleh HEP dam site today.

The 188-metres high Concrete Faced Rockfill (CFR) Baleh Dam is one of Sarawak’s largest infrastructure projects and will generate 1,285 megawatt of renewable energy to the grid when it is fully commissioned by 2026.

The dam is located about 105-kilometres upstream of Baleh River from the confluence with the Rajang River in Kapit and it is also the largest HEP developed by Sarawak Energy.

Baleh HEP is the largest civil works project by state government owner company and will serve as an additional milestone in the renewable energy and development strategy of Sarawak.

Once Baleh HEP is fully commissioned, Sarawak will have sufficient energy to cater to the anticipated rapid growth in organic and industrial demand for electricity as Sarawak progress its ambition to become a high income economy by 2030.

Baleh HEP will join Sarawak’s stable of hydropower plants that includes Batang Ai, Murum and Bakun and strengthen Sarawak’s aspiration to become a regional powerhouse of renewable and affordable energy.

Adding on, Sarawak Energy chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi said that the project will benefit all of Sarawak in the long run.

“We are doing our best to keep the project on track despite the set-backs we faced due to Covid-19 and other challenges.

“We will need the support from all stakeholders to ensure the smooth execution of the project in order to meet our target project commissioning in 2026.

“Construction of Baleh HEP has now resumed at an accelerated speed,” he said.

Meanwhile, the visit by Abang Johari was to gain a first hand view of one of the state’s largest strategic infrastructure development project.

Also present were Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong and Sarawak Energy group chief executive officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili.

Source : The Borneo Post