MALAYSIA APPEARS SET TO proceed with its 2400MW Bakun hydro power plant as originally planned despite rumours that its capacity would be reduced to 50% through lack of demand for
its electricity.

Local news reports quote Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the country’s prime minister, denying the government was considering scaling power production to just 1200MW from four hydro generators, rather than the originally planned eight.

Concerns were originally raised when The Edge reported comments from a source casting doubt over potential buyers for the electricity produced by Bakun. Apart from a planned aluminium plant in Sarawak state, which would consume around 40% of production, there were no other firm takers, said the report.

The comments suggested that the government-owned dam operator Sarawak Hidro might start off with reduced generating capacity and build it up as demand grew.

The project was originally shelved during the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis but was revived in 2001 by the Malaysian government.