Lahad Datu power station

From Global Energy Monitor

The Lahad Datu power station is a 300-megawatt (MW) power station originally proposed as a coal plant by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd to be constructed on Borneo Island, Sabah, Malaysia. It was later proposed as a gas plant.


The map below shows the approximate area east of Lahad Datu where the plant will be built.

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The proposal was rejected by the government of Sabah in 2008 but in mid-2010 Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd is lobbying for its approval once more.[1] In 2011 the project was scrapped as a coal plant, but continues to be developed as a gas-fired power plant.[2]

Status of Development

The USGS states that in 2008 the state government of Sabah cancelled approval for the project "because the proposed plant would be located near the protected rainforest area."[3]

An April 2008 media statement by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd complained that with "the cancellation of the project, the people of Sabah will have to face the inevitability of a power crisis situation ... While TNB fully understands the decision by the Sabah State Government is made due to the pressure from various NGOs, environmentalists and other interested parties, we would like to clarify to the people of Sabah that much of the claims made by opponents of the project do not comprehend the gravity of the power supply situation in the State. Nor have the project's nay-sayers communicated to the people the true picture of the project site and its allegedly destructive environmental impact on the green field and pristine area surrounding the Darvel Bay."[4]


In its statement, Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd argued that "the current technology for renewable energy can only supply capacities of around 1MW per plant, whereas immediate supply-demand requirements of Sabah is about 200 MW as at end of 2010. Hence it would be very prudent and appropriate to go for the fossil fuel technology, i.e. steam generating sets at 4 x 80MW to meet the short-to-medium term requirements."[4]

SESB also claimed that the plant would employ "clean coal" technology. "TNB is also fully aware of the controversial view towards coal as a resource. As a national utility company, what we can do to respond towards this is to employ the technologies available that can support the plans for plant development. This is why we made the effort to require clean coal technology in the generation methods for this plant. Clean coal technology is the name used to describe technologies for improvement of efficiency and environmental acceptability of coal extraction, preparation and use. In Malaysia, the technology has been used in our own Stesen Janakuasa Sultan Azlan Shah (SJSAS) at Manjung, Perak," it stated.[4]

In July 2010 it was announced that the fight against the plant was continuing, and that the Malaysian government was continuing to pursue the development of the plant. In the spring of 2010, several organizations in Borneo joined efforts with the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at the University of California Berkeley to publish a report that shows how the island could fulfill its energy needs with clean, renewable energy. It was noted that despite the report, the Malaysian government was attempting to expedite the plant's construction.[5]

In February 2011, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman announced that plans to build a coal plant were being abandoned; instead, the government said it would seek to build a gas-fired power plant.[2]

Citizens groups opposing coal-fired power stations

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd
  • Parent Company: Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd
  • Location: Lahad Datu, Sabah
  • Coordinates: 5.1205505, 119.1833568 (approximate)
  • Status: Cancelled as a coal plant; being built as a gas-fired plant
  • Gross Capacity: 300 MW (4 x 75 MW)
  • Type:  
  • Projected in service:
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source:  
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. "EIA on controversial coal-fired plant ready soon", Free Malaysia Today, April 28, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Sabah cancels Lahad Datu coal power plant," Malaysian Insider, 16 February 2011
  3. Pui-Kwan Tse, "The Mineral Industry of Malaysia", U.S. Geological Survey, April 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, "TNB responds to the cancellation of the Lahad Datu", Media Release, April 18, 2008.
  5. "Coal Power Plant Planned In World's Worst Possible Location" Jamie Henn, July 14, 2010.

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External resources

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