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Menteri Tenaga, Air Dan Komunikasi, Dato' Sri Dr Lim Keng Yaik expressed his strong support for the proposed Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, which will be set up at POIC Lahad Datu.

This was revealed when the Sabah Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Ewon Ebin lead a team from POIC to pay a courtesy call on Dato' Sri Lim at Putrajaya to brief him on the development of POIC Lahad Datu and its intention to set up the 50MW CHP Plant. The plant will use renewable energy sources such as biomass and biogas as fuel and it will use the latest technology in gasification. It will produce 135 tons per hour of steam and 50MW of electricity. When completed, POIC Lahad Datu will be the first and only industrial estate in Malaysia to have a centralized steam supply system.

Datuk Ewon Ebin (left) discussing the proposed POIC 50MW biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant with Dato' Sri Lim Keng Yaik (right) at Putrajaya

Dato' Sri Lim Keng Yaik stated that as the proposed CHP plant will be generating energy using renewable sources; it is under the purview of the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications. His ministry will assist POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd to obtain the necessary approval and licenses for the setting up of this plant.

Datuk Ewon handing over the POIC CHP Plant proposal to Dato' Sri Lim Keng Yaik

Accompanying Datuk Ewon in the courtesy call were his Permanent Secretary En. Ismail Abdullah, political secretary En John Chin, CEO of POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd Dr Pang Teck Wai and consultant Ir. Vincent H.K. Tan

POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd was set up in January 2005 under the Sabah Chief Minister Incorporated. It is wholly owned by the Sabah state government and its objective is to spearhead the palm oil downstream industrial development. The company is placed under the purview of the Ministry of Industrial Development with the Minister, Datuk Ewon Ebin as the Chairman of POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd.

An area of 1150 acres at Lahad Datu has been allocated for development into the first integrated Palm Oil Industrial Cluster in the region. In order to attract quality investors both locally and from abroad, POIC Lahad Datu is developing one of the best infrastructural facilities for the industrial cluster. The infrastructure includes a deep water oil jetty with drafts of 20 meters to berth ships up to 100,000 tons, centralized steam provider, fast speed telecommunication and internet services, secured water supply, etc. The bulk of the development cost is commercially funded by bank loans with the State Government providing the seed money.

The development has attracted overwhelming interests from local and international investors. So far, the land demand from investors exceeds the supply. The basic infrastructure works is scheduled to be completed in August 2007, while the jetty and full electrical system is expected to be functional in January 2008.

Two large biodiesel plants build by foreign investors are already in the advance stages of construction. The first biodiesel plant, Sterling Biodiesel, which is listed in Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) is scheduled to start commercial operation in July 2007, while the 2nd biodiesel plant, Global Biodiesel, which is build by investors from Korea, will be operational in September 2007. Several other large biodiesel plants and refineries are in the advance stages of design and planning approval and they are expected to start construction as soon as the infrastructure works are completed. According to its Chief Executive Officer Dr Pang Teck Wai, POIC Lahad Datu is expected to become the largest Palm Oil based biodiesel plant in the world within the next few years. Other Oil Palm related industries such as oleo chemical, biomass plants, pulp and paper, fertilizer, furniture, etc are also expected to take off within POIC Lahad Datu soon.

One of the frequently asked questions by investors is the reliability and availability of secured electricity supply in Lahad Datu and within POIC. While POIC is building a very secured electrical distribution system within the industrial estate with features such as 11KV ring circuit from 2 separate 33/11KV PPUs, the upstream power generation is very unreliable with frequent shut downs and black outs. Although SESB is proposing to build a 300MW coal power plant in Lahad Datu, it is expected that the power plant will take sometime to complete and will not be able to meet the immediate demands of the POIC investors. Hence POIC has embarked on the 50MW Combined Heat and Power plant to satisfy its immediate needs.

When completed, the POIC CHP Plant will be able to produce 135 tons of steam per hour and 50 MW of electricity. The steam produced will be supplied to the industrial plants through pipelines through out POIC, whereas the electricity will be injected into the grid and channeled back to POIC for plant use. The total power requirement of POIC Lahad Datu is 50MW when the industrial plants are fully developed.

The CHP plant will use renewable energy source as its fuel supply. The primary fuel will be from biomass, such as Empty Fruit Bunches (EFB), fiber and palm kernel shell. Secondary fuel will be from Biogas obtained from processing of POME, which is a type of palm oil liquid waste. The plant will be environmentally friendly and uses the latest technology in gasification.

The plant will be developed in 2 stages. The first stage will be to generate steam and 22MW of electricity, while the second stage will bring the power generation to a maximum of 50MW.

Datuk Ewon stated that when the necessary licenses for the CHP plant is obtained, POIC will enter into discussions with the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd for the technical and other details of injecting the power produced from the POIC CHP plant into the east coast power grid.

Model of POIC Lahad Datu when it is fully developed (East View)

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