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Geothermal Power Plant.


The first Geothermal Power plant in Malaysia was establish and construct in Tawau, Sabah.
The location of Tawau Geothermal Project is at Jalan Apas Kiri within Mount Andrassy Forest
Reserve and Tawau Hills Park. According to chen in 2012, he state that the similarity of surface
springs endorse a deep underlying neutral chloride fluid rising and outflowing the SE and the
South with a deep temperature of about 200°C

Location of Tawau geothermal energy source.

After the confirmation of the existence of an active geothermal system in Mt Maria

Apas Kiri near Tawau, an exploration program was immediately carried out by Tawau Green
Energy Project.

Figure 1: Location of Tawau Geothermal Energy on Sabah map.

From the geographical map above, the location of the Tawau geothermal project has
been highlighted in Figure 1. It is located at Jalan Apas Kiri within Mount Andrassy Forest
Reserve and Tawau Hills Park.

After the exploration program, Andrassy foothill and Tawau Hill area was decided as
one of a geothermal energy source potential in Tawau, Sabah (Ching & Aini, 2015). Therefore,
the geothermal project is built at Tawau Hill which is one of the backbone of the Semporna
Peninsular. Miocene to Late Pleistocene andesitic, basaltic, and dacitic volcanic rocks are a
major contributor the formation of Tawau Hill (Barnett et al., 2015).

In general, geothermal energy is a renewable energy due to its sustainability and

continuous availability (Geothermal Energy Association, 2012). This energy is coming from
heat that derived from the core of earth. Firstly, a geothermal reservoir is form when rainwater
is collected from the seeps and flow through the cracks. It is then be heated by magma and
yield an absolute superheated fluid which will be extracted to the surface of the earth to act
as a base for electric generation. In addition, geothermal energy are friendly to environment
compared to others power especially in the aspect of air emission (J.W.Luid, 2009).

Technology used for Tawau Geothermal Plant.

Flash System Technology is applied for this plant. This process consist of a single
unit condensation type turbo-generator which will generated power capacity 36MW nett
gross. The depth of the deep geothermal well is roughly about 2km to 3km where the hot
brine is extracted and obtained within the steam field and flashed to generate two phase
steam. Then, the wells are directed to the local powerhouses by flowing through thermally
insulated pipelines. Then, two phase steam are extracted from the well and flowed into the
centralized steam separator which purposely done to get rid of all moisture and impurities in
the steam. Condensing type turbo generator will obtained and receive dry steam with a
purity almost 100% which to be exact at 99.9%. On the other hand, ejectors and vacuum
will separate the non-condensable gases from the condensate by condensate that from
turbine and delivered it back to the cooling tower. This will resulted in the releasing a large
portion of cooled condensate by the tower and will be injected back to the reservoir.
Figure 1-2: Process Flow Diagram for TGE power plant

Construction cost and cost per megawatt (generation)

The overall construction cost for Tawau geothermal power plant is approximately
RM 419 million. This include the cost in developing the steam field which consist of
exploration, production and injection walls. Even though the construction cost of this plant is
significantly higher than other plants like natural gas power plant, the operational cost is
lower when it is compared to other plants. Since 30MW power electricity generated by using
the geothermal plant, it cost only RM 0.21/kWh compare to RM0.79 when using the
current power generated from fossil fuel. Plus, the operation stage of this plant will last up
to 25 years proves that geothermal energy is an efficient alternative power supply in East
Coast of Sabah, especially in Tawau.

Ching, L., & Aini, N. (2016). Development of Geothermal Plant in Malaysia : A Case Study of
Tawau Green Energy Project in Sabah Development of Geothermal Plant in Malaysia : A
Case Study of Tawau Green Energy Project in Sabah, (October 2015).

J.W.Luid. (2009). Development of direct-use projects. Geofund IGA Geothermal Workshop

Hamid.A.S, Tahir.S., Musta.B., & Basarain.M.S. (2009). Alternative energy potential from
Tawau Geothermal System and environmental challenges. Malaysia: Universiti
Malaysia Sabah.

Barnett, P. R., Mandagi, S., iskander, T., Abidin, Z., Armaladdos, A., & Raad, R. (2015).
Exploration and development of the Tawau Geothermal Project,Malaysia. World
Geothermal Congress. Australia.J. Clerk Maxwell,