The Sarawak region in northeast Malaysia has an abundance of natural resources such as gas, rain (for hydropower) and coal.

The Score programme aims to tap into these resources to meet future demand, Sarawak Energy Board CEO Torstein Dale Sjotveit told the World Aluminium Conference organised by CRU in Oslo, Norway.

The plan is to tap into 15-20000MW of hydro power, 1.46Mt of coal and 40.9tri ft3 of natural gas.

There will be three locations spread across 400km of coastal areas where the programme will take place. The area of Salamaju will focus on heavy industries such as aluminium, iron and steel and the silica and petrochemical industries.

The area of Tanjun Manis will concentrate on power for the resource-based industries such as palm oil, food processing and ship building while the area of Mukah will be a nerve centre for R&D.

Mr Dale said aluminium production was power intensive yet the cost of power to the industry had risen by 80% in eight years, from $20M to $37M. By 2012 it will be $40M.

The price of oil, gas in the EU and USA and Australian thermal coal have all increased dramatically in the past eight years, while the cost of hydropower in the future will be high from other regions.

Mr Dale said in the future any smelters that base their energy on clean and renewable hydro will achieve an advantage of $5-10M/kWh compared to non-renewable sources.

The full brunt of higher price tariffs have yet to be reflected in aluminium power tariffs due to long-term contracts and the cost of CO2 emissions yet to be passed down.

Mr Dale pointed out a list of countries with excess power, which included Malaysia, Australia and Canada, but also included politically unstable countries such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tajikistan.

In comparison Sarawak is open for business complete with supporting infrastructure and supporting incentives.