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Companies plan mini-hydropower development in Peninsular Malaysia

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Earlier today in Kuala Lumpur, Malakoff Bhd signed a memorandum of understanding with Touch Meccanica Sdn Bhd (TMn) to develop renewable energy projects including mini-hydropower projects in Pahang Darul Makmur, Peninsular Malaysia.

Pahang is the largest state on Peninsular Malaysia and is home to the Pahang River basin, which connects with Malaysia's two largest natural freshwater lakes, Bera and Chini.

The amount of the MoU was not immediately available, but according to Malakoff, it will conduct a feasibility study to determine the technical and commercial viability of the energy projects.

In Malaysia, small hydropower refers to run-of-river schemes up to 30 MW in capacity. Small hydropower usually is broken down into three sizes: full scale, mini and micro. Mini-hydro schemes contribute to national grid supplies, typically in the range of 500 kW to 10 MW. Micro hydro schemes usually range from 5 kW to 500 kW, do not supply the national grid and produce just enough power to provide domestic lighting to a group of houses through charging a battery.

Malakoff said that in Malaysia it is the largest independent power producer and has a net generating capacity of 6,346 MW from its seven power plants. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur-based MMC Corp. Bhd, a utilities and infrastructure group with diversified businesses under three divisions: energy and utilities, ports and logistics, and engineering and construction.

In addition to its focus on power generation, water desalination and operations and maintenance services, Malakoff’s international assets include power and water ventures in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, Oman and Australia, with an effective capacity of 690 MW of power and 444,800 m3/day of water desalination.

TMn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Touch Group Holdings Sdn Bhd focusing in the development of renewable energy especially in the areas of small hydro and solar power generation.

TMn said it expects to commission Malaysia’s first low-head facility, a 30-MW hydropower plant on Pahang River in 2019, via its associate company, Touch Makmur Hidro Sdn Bhd.

Today’s announcement is a follow-on to the adoption of the 2011 feed-in tariff for small hydropower incentivizing development and allowing small power producers to sell electricity to the national utility through the grid. As a result, small hydropower projects are contributing to Malaysia’s electricity supply, especially in rural areas, according to the International Hydropower Association.

In August, Hydroworld.com reported Gunung Hydropower Sdn Bhd, a 90% subsidiary of Gunung Capital Bhd, awarded SNC-Lavalin the engineering and design contract for the 10-MW Pulau Temelong small hydroelectric project in the state of Perak, which borders Pahang to the west.

As of January 2017, installed capacity of small hydropower under the feed-in tariff scheme is 30 MW, with plants in progress representing over 200 MW, the largest share of all renewables.

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