SRI AMAN – The Batang Ai Hydroelectric Plant near here, the first hydroelectric dam project in Sarawak, continues to provide the state with a valuable source of cheap and sustainable energy.
Even after 30 years of operation, it is still free from any structural or environmental issues, said deputy chief minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu.
This, he said, was despite the recent earthquake which hit Ranau, in Sabah, or even the Acheh Tsunami in 2004.
“Thus what those non-governmental organisations (which are against the project) had been telling the people that such projects are unsafe is pure nonsense.
“Our people and our state are benefiting greatly from Batang Ai energy source,” he said when officiating the 30th anniversary celebration of the Batang Ai Hydroelectric plant here Friday.
Jabu said when the state decided to develop Batang Ai in 1973, it had embarked on extensive pre-project feasibility studies, including on its social implications.
“It had insisted on getting the right location, very safe designs and even over-engineering of all components before beginning its construction in 1981,” he added.
Jabu, who is also the state Minister of Rural Development, said with hydro power, it would push Sarawak forward toward achieving its industrialisation goal.
“It will bring the state to the forefront of development and progress and make it a very important hydropower hub in Southeast Asia by 2030 when more dams will be built,” he said. – BERNAMA