Visit to Sarawak Energy’s Miri Power Station an exciting educational experience for Curtin students

Miri – 22 September 2023 – The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,  Faculty of Engineering and Science at Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) recently organised a field trip for its students to Sarawak Energy Berhad’s Miri Power Station. The visit aimed to enhance the students’ knowledge and understanding of energy generation and distribution.

Accompanying the senior electrical and electronic engineering students were a number of students from i-CATS University College Miri (i-CATS Miri), and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering lecturers Dr. Chew Ing Ming, Dr. Han Yi Chiew, Dr. Salem Mgammal Awadh Nasser Al-Ameri, Veeramani Shanmugam and Valerie Nyellia. Given the large number of students, the field visit was conducted in two sessions in the morning and afternoon.

The field trip provided an invaluable opportunity for the students to observe firsthand the maintenance, operations, and problem mitigation strategies employed at the power plant. By immersing themselves in a real-world industrial setting, the students gained a deeper appreciation for the complexities involved in the generation and distribution of electrical energy.

During the field trip, the students were guided by experts from the Miri Power Station. They also witnessed the sophisticated equipment and machinery used for power generation, gaining insights into the intricate processes that ensure efficient and uninterrupted electricity supply to the region.

The experts included Station Manager Heldinna Anak Nyotem, and Maintenance Manager Samuel Tang Kah Hung, who briefed the students on the history of the Miri Power Station and the current power grid in Sarawak. Tang also highlighted the current models of gas turbines used for energy generation at the plant.

Engaging with industry professionals, the students had the chance to discuss various topics pertaining to energy generation, including the utilisation of renewable energy sources, the adoption of sustainable practices, and the challenges faced in meeting the growing demand for electricity.

The visit to the Miri Power Station allowed the students to connect their classroom knowledge to real-world practices, fostering a better understanding of the practical applications of the theories they had learned. It served as a powerful tool to inspire and motivate the students to excel in their academic pursuits and further explore career opportunities in the electrical and computer engineering field.

Final-year student Chee Lit Zhi said the field trip was very insightful, it being his first visit to a power plant, and he was very impressed by what he saw. “It was a fantastic opportunity to see actual generators and turbines which we had learned about during our lectures,” he remarked.

Fellow student Stephen Carew, meanwhile, commented that he was impressed by the dedication and professionalism displayed by the staff at the power plant. “It was very inspiring to see how they tackle various challenges at the plant. I now have a much better understanding of power generation, and am quite excited about venturing into this sector,” he said.

Organising lecturer Dr. Chew Ing Ming expressed his gratitude to Sarawak Energy Berhad for their cooperation and support in organising this eye-opening field trip. He emphasised the importance of such experiential learning opportunities in preparing students for the challenges and demands of the evolving industry landscape.

“As the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering continues to strive for excellence in education and research, fostering collaborations with industry partners like Sarawak Energy Berhad helps create a robust learning environment where students can develop the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their future careers,” he said.

Curtin Malaysia offers Curtin’s Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) (Honours) designed to develop comprehensive knowledge and skills in electrical and computer engineering. The course is double-accredited by both Engineers Australia (EA) and the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM).

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Station Manager Heldinna Anak Nyotem (13th from right) with students and lecturers participating in the morning session.

Maintenance Manager Samuel Tang Kah Hung (centre, front row) with students and lecturers during the afternoon session.