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Malaysia begins exporting electricity to Indonesia

Free Malaysia Today — Malaysia has started selling electricity to Indonesia. As of May 9, it had exported 70 megawatts of electricity to West Kalimantan. The interconnection between Mambong, Sarawak, and Bengkayang, West Kalimantan, began on Jan 21. The project was funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Maximus Ongkili said in a press statement: “We, both the Malaysian and Indonesia teams, are proud to be able to execute this long-awaited dream of power trading between neighbouring countries.” Ongkili cited the success as proof that power trading could be done despite technical issues and pricing concerns. He said this also demonstrated that the long-proposed Asean Power Grid was not impossible to achieve.

ongkiliThe grid aims to improve electricity infrastructure in Asean, thus helping people improve lives and ensure more even economic development among member countries. Only 66% of the Asean population has direct electricity supply. Other power export projects in the works include the Malacca-Sumatra interconnection, currently under development, and the Nunukan-Sabah interconnection, currently at the planning stage.

Meanwhile, a report in the Nikkei Asian Review said the Sarawak-West Kalimantan project channels power to 8,000 households in the Mambong area through a 275-kv interconnection operated by Sarawak Energy, the state energy company.

It said neither Malaysia nor Indonesia revealed the value of the power trading. The report said according to the ADB, the transmission of hydroelectricity could reduce Indonesia’s cost of generation by a third to US$0.18 per kilowatt-hour. The report said with the renewable supply from Sarawak, Indonesia could save about US$100 million annually in fuel costs.

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