Strengthening a commitment
Sarawak Energy reinforced its commitment towards sustainable hydropower development and management by expanding its pool of internationally trained in-house Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP)/ Hydropower Environmental, Social and Governance (HESG) assessors.
The all-Sarawakian team of assessors will be responsible for assessing and improving the sustainability performance of Sarawak Energy’s hydropower projects and plants. Eleven (11) of the Provisional Accredited Assessors (PAAs) will also be involved in sustainability assessments for international projects undertaken by other developers under the supervision of an International Hydropower Association (IHA) Lead Assessor.
To date, two (2) of the Provisional Accredited Assessors have been involved in an official HSAP/HESG assessment for a hydropower plant in operation in Indonesia.
The new assessors received their certificates during a recent certificate handover ceremony done virtually.
Sarawak Energy Group Chief Executive Officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili said: “We have come a long way in our journey from our early years as a small utility provider in 1921 to the commissioning of our first Batang Ai Hydroelectric Plant in 1985.
“Now, as Malaysia’s largest renewable energy developer with our own team of HSAP and HESG assessors. This was realised through a structured and programmatic approach towards meeting Sarawak and the region’s need for a sustainable energy future.”
The company now has 11 Provisional Accredited Assessors and 18 internal assessors under the international HSAP and HESG. In 2014, Sarawak Energy established an internal HSAP Assessment Team to intensify the company’s efforts to incorporate sustainability practices into its hydropower development and operation process. The team has since grown in number from 18 to 33 assessors.
Sarawak Energy is Malaysia’s largest renewable energy developer and provider with a stable of three large hydropower plants and the Baleh Hydroelectric Project currently under construction.
Sharbini congratulated all 29 HSAP/HESG assessors on their official appointments and expressed his confidence that the team would further enhance Sarawak Energy’s hydropower sustainability performance.
“Our in-house assessors can help us proactively manage our risks and ensure we continue to comply with international good and best practices, financing requirements and meet shifting generational and stakeholder expectations as we establish ourselves as a renewable hydropower specialist with a regional ambition,” he added.
Regional powerhouse vision
Sarawak’s shift to a predominantly renewable generation mix has enabled Sarawakians to enjoy the lowest average unsubsidised power tariffs in Malaysia. It is also among the most competitive in Southeast Asia. It also decarbonises Sarawak’s power system by 68 per cent since 2010 in alignment with Sarawak Energy’s pledge to the United Nations “Business Ambition for 1.5°Celsius” and contribution to Malaysia’s commitments to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Paris Agreement.
Head of Sustainability Mohamad Irwan Aman said: “We are one of the early adopters of the guidelines in the IHA’s HSAP to ensure our hydropower projects are developed and operated in line with international standards and best practices.
“Our aim is to embed sustainability best practices in our hydropower development and operation aligned with Sarawak Energy’s vision to become the regional powerhouse and hydropower specialist.”
Both trainings (Provisional Accredited Assessor and Certified User) are conducted under the Hydropower Sustainability Training Academy of the IHA – an extensive and active hydropower global network created under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1995 as the voice of sustainable hydropower. The IHA forms part of Sarawak Energy’s HSAP and HESG Assessment Team.
“Sarawak Energy has been a member and sustainability partner of the IHA since 2010. We are committed to incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance in our decision making and performance strategy outlining growth opportunities and related risks to create sustainable long-term value creation,” Irwan said.