Key areas of hydro power development underway were in Sabah and Sarawak, which together could supply up to 5GW in the near future, the ministry said.

It added that efforts were underway to examine the potential of securing more hydro in the Rejang river basin, such as through the Murum and Baleh schemes.

‘The role of hydro power will be more prominent post-2010,’ said the department. The government wants to reduce reliance on thermal energy resources.

The largest hydro project under development in Malaysia is Bakun, which the ministry said is due for completion in 2011. A key part of the infrastructure for the scheme will be an undersea power link. The ministry has asked Japan’s Sumitomo and Italy’s Prysmian to look at establishing facilities in Malaysia to manufacture the submarine cables, which are estimated to cost about US$1.5B.