Land and water pollution has cost Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) an additional RM40 million annually in generating electricity for the entire country, says the company.
According to Utusan, TNB’s power generation unit TNB Power Generation Sdn Bhd (TNB Genco) said it had lost about 50% of stored energy in dams in Cameron Highlands, Pahang due to severe river pollution.
Its chief operating officer, Datuk Roslan Abd Rahman said the company spends RM40 million on maintenance alone to clear out pollutants and sedimentation accumulated in the dams such as sand, and agricultural and logging wastes, which can take up half the reservoir’s capacity.
“When we completed these dams 59 years ago, the reservoir was at full capacity, meaning it could contain water at 100%. But now, we are at 50%.”
“Because of that, we’ve lost half of the energy as the sediment fills up the other 50%. That is our opportunity cost,” Roslan said.
Roslan also said that sedimentation remains TNB Genco’s biggest challenge and that maintaining the dams is also vital to controlling river levels to prevent overflowing.
Meanwhile, Cameron Highlands Power Stations general manager Sa’aidan Abu Hassan said TNB Genco has been collaborating with the Malaysian National Water Research Institute (Nahrim) on waste disposal programmes to educate people who live near riverine areas.
He added that the power generation unit has also constructed sediment traps to tackle waste at the source before it gets into the reservoir.
“If we only focus on our sediment problems within the reservoir, they will never be solved. So, we need to tackle the source.” Sa’aidan said.
“We need collaboration with all relevant agencies such as the local council, the Irrigation And Drainage Department, Forestry Department, and Agriculture Ministry.”
Commenting further on the matter, Roslan said if they can stop the flow of pollutants into the river, then they can reduce the costs involved.
“For the time being, the maintenance cost has not yet affected our revenue because we have been managing our expenses, but it would be best if we could get the cost reduced as much as possible,” Roslan added.
Here’s a reminder for us to keep our environment clean and preserve it for our future generations.