Saturday, March 1, 2014

Malaysia's first geothermal power plant ready by May 2016

Malaysia’s first geothermal power plant at Apas Kiri, Tawau is expected to deliver 30MW of electricity to the Sabah State Grid in May 2016.

The first news of this venture came to light in 2011 when Tawau Green Energy (TGE) inked a deal with SESB for sale of electricity generated from geothermal for a period of 21 years.

DSC_2070 May 2010
Back in 2011, TGE showed the site of the proposed geothermal power plant in Tawau. Photo: TGE 

The project hit a snag the next year upon claim by Tawau Municipal Councilors that they were not informed/aware of the potentially environment-impacting activities related to the plant setup.

Fast forward to 2014, latest news tells us that drilling operations are now expected to commence at the end of April this year. Also, TGE was reported to have signed a MoU with the University of Auckland on the development of the geothermal energy industry here.

Collaboration with foreign experts

Under the MoU, the two parties agreed to facilitate the provision of the university’s expertise in geothermal training and research. The University of Auckland is one of the leaders for applied research and training in geothermal energy.

The collaboration will pave the way for the setting up of Geothermal Resource Centre (GRC) in Tawau, which would benefit us, among others, by way of:-
  • Capacity building for the Malaysian geothermal energy industry

  • Providing specialised training in all aspects of geothermal energy including applied geosciences, steamfield design, power plant technology, power plant engineering and design, operations and maintenance, environmental compliance

  • Providing a platform for local universities and institutions of higher learning to collaborate with foreign institutions

  • Conducting seminars, short courses and other training programmes for Malaysian engineers and scientists keen to involve themselves in this new field of renewable energy

  • Encouraging local and foreign universities to collaborate on joint-research activities on the Apas Kiri Geothermal field.

"(We hope that with the setting up of the GRC, Malaysia’s human capital and expertise in the geothermal energy field would be strengthened). This is especially so as we want to promote use of renewable energy and reduce our dependency on fossil fuel. Currently renewable energy accounts for 0.85% of our country’s energy mix and we hope to increase that to 5.5% in the nearest future.”
- Dr. Maximus Ongkili, Minister of Technology, Green Energy  and Water, Malaysia.

It was reported that TGE will engaged the services of Iceland Drilling Company, IDC, for the drilling operations of the proposed Apas Kiri project on a turnkey basis. IDC has good track record both in Iceland and New Zealand.

Delegation from Dr. Maximus' ministry visited New Zealand recently to look at the operations and maintenance of geothermal power plants there. Geothermal currently contribute about 15% of New Zealand’s total energy needs.

TheGreenMechanics: Let's look ahead and get similar arrangements for local universities to get into some sort of MoU with TGE. We could perhaps start with UMS. Afterall this is the only facility of such nature in Malaysia and it would be a waste if transfer of technology is not accelerated.

Source: The Borneo Post


Thomas Lee said...

Sabah needs this Geothermal plant badly to increase it generation mix since it's is mostly relying on gas.

de engineur said...

But this one is also being criticised by NGO like SEPA