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First geothermal power project found abandoned – Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s first geothermal power plant project in Sabah which should be operational by Dec 31 2017, is now found abandoned and overgrown with weeds, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said based on the ministry’s inspection of the project site which was implemented on July 2 2015, the plant was found not showing any progress.

“For example, drilling has stopped in the third quarter of 2016 and slim hole had been closed…all cabins and drilling equipment are no longer at the site, no workers were found there and the area is covered with overgrowth,” she said during Ministers’ Question Time.

She was replying to the original question by Chan Foong Hin (PH-Kota Kinabalu) who wanted the government to state the status on the construction of the power plant in Apas Kiri, Tawau.

The project which was developed by Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd appeared to have stopped operation and therefore on Aug 29 2018, the government through the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda) decided to cancel the approval given.

Yeo said the 37 megawatt generation incentive quota from the project would be redistributed to other viable renewable energy projects especially biogas, biomass and hydro.

On a supplementary question by Chan on whether the government would ensure the project is saved as RM35 million from Private Public Partnership Unit had been spent, Yeo said at the moment, there are no plans for the project.

“This is because geothermal projects sometimes cost more than new energy sources but we will study the technology and suitability of the project from time to time.

“When it makes business sense, we will continue with implementation. Nonetheless we will offer the project again through open tender,” she said. – Bernama