14th May, 2010
Lasimah Guldimis, 30, showing her 3-year-old son and Dayangku Mayang Pengiran Masumi, 30, from Kg Likas photos of coal-fired power plants exhibited during a briefing session for community leaders by the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd.
KOTA KINABALU: The Detailed Environment Impact Assessment (DIEA) for the Lahad Datu coal-fired power plant will be ready for evaluation on May 29.
Project contractor, Lahad Datu Energy (LED), said they will hand over the report to the Department of Environment (DOE) and it will be reviewed by a special committee – a process that would take about three months.
Its project director, Ahmad Faraid Mohd Yahaya, said the report will be released once it has been approved to allow the public, especially the local community in Lahad Datu, to give further views and input.
“We will gather comments from the public and after that we will get back to the Department of Environment to relay the feedback, before the final decision is made,” he said during a briefing with community leaders in Likas here yesterday.
Entrusted with constructing the 300MW coal-fired power plant, LED is 35 per cent owned by companies from Sabah. The remaining 65 per cent equity is controlled by Tenaga Nasional Berhad through Lahad Datu Holdings Sdn Bhd.
The proposed project is touted to be vital for ensuring electricity supply stability in Sabah, especially in the east coast where power demand currently exceeds supply.
It however received strong objections, particularly from environmental groups concerned over potential hazardous impact the plant will have on the environment and the socio-economy of the local community.
Faraid said experts have been appointed from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to conduct the DIEA study based on the approved Terms of Reference.
The report, he said, covers areas and concerns regarding the construction and operation of the proposed plant with major focus on air pollution, impact on marine and land animals, as well as potential threats to the nearby forest reserve.
He explained approval for the DIEA would only be given if the construction and operation of the plant met the requirement set by the DOE.
The department, he added, will also strictly and continuously monitor the project throughout its implementation.
Should the DIEA be approved on time, he said the project would commence as soon as possible to end power woes in Sabah and significantly reduce power disruption in the state.
“The plant will serve as an anchor in the east coast and stabilise the state’s electricity grid as we will no longer have to rely heavily on the west coast to sustain demand in the east.
It will also allow the unreliable diesel-fuel generators presently used for supplying electricity in the east coast to be decommissioned or used only as backup to cater additional demand,” he said.
According to him LDE would need 40 months to construct the power plant and, if everything goes according to plan, the first phase of the construction would be completed in the last quarter of 2013, allowing the facility to start producing electricity at half its capacity.
He said the facility, to be built on a 69-hectare oil palm cultivated land at Kampung Sinakut in Felda Sahabat, will be able to operate at full 300MW in early 2014 when the second phase is completed.