Curtin Sarawak students learn about electrical power generation

MIRI: Keen to learn more about power generation from hydro power plants and power transmission to the energy-intensive industrial sector, 19 students of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently went on site visits to Sakura Ferroalloys and the Murum Dam.

The visits were organised by the university’s Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch and the students were from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) as well as other departments from the Faculty of Engineering and Science.

Accompanying them were senior lecturers Dr. Garenth Lim King Hann and Dr. Hendra Gunawan Harno of the Department of ECE.


Students and lecturers at Sakura Ferroalloys power substation.

Students and lecturers at Sakura Ferroalloys power substation.


At Sakura Ferroalloys, located within the Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu, they were briefed by Human Resource Manager Azid Allan on the plant’s operations and its energy demands to produce high-carbon-ferro-manganese and silica-manganese products.

They were also brought on a tour to the plant’s power substation where they learned about its huge transformers, power protection, controller and switchgears.

The group spent the night at the Uma Bawang longhouse at Sungai Koyan in Belaga, a resettlement area developed under the Bakun Resettlement Scheme. During their stay at the Kayan longhouse, they had the opportunity to talk to the villagers and learn how the dam development has impacted the community.


View of the Murum hydroelectric dam.

View of the Murum hydroelectric dam.


At the Murum hydroelectric dam the following day, the group was welcomed by Senior Manager of Hydro Generation Support Tay Chang Seng. There they learned how the powerful flow of water through the dam’s turbines is used to generate electricity.

The Murum Dam, a roller-capacity concrete dam with a height of 141 metres, is the second hydroelectric project developed by Sarawak Energy. Its four turbine generating units are capable of generating up to 944 megawatts of electricity.

Student Sim Zee Ang said the visit helped him learn about the responsibilities of lawmakers, developers and engineers in addressing environmental concerns and the wellbeing of the local inhabitants when developing the dam.


Group photo with residents of Uma Bawang longhouse.

Group photo with residents of Uma Bawang longhouse.


Meanwhile, Dr. Hendra commented that the students were able to gain useful insights into the current hydroelectric power projects in Sarawak and potential of renewable energy systems in the state’s development.

He added that Curtin Sarawak was the first institution of higher learning to have organised a site visit for students to the Murum Dam and hydropower station following its commissioning.

The IEEE Student Branch of Curtin Sarawak aims to inspire engineering students to achieve their full potential in line with IEEE’s motto ‘To Foster Technological Innovation and Excellence for the Benefit of Humanity’. It regularly organises site visits, technical talks, competitions and social activities for its members.

For more information on the IEEE Student Branch of Curtin Sarawak, visit its website at or its Facebook page at

For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website (, its Facebook page (Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia), Twitter profile (curtinsarawak), YouTube channel (CurtinUniSarawak) or Instagram (curtinsarawak).

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