Sarawak Energy continued to share Sarawak’s sustainable energy development story at the recent Clean Power New Energy Conference 2021 with national and regional industry leaders and policymakers.
Group Chief Executive Officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili shared the aspirations, initiatives, and contributions of Malaysia’s largest renewable energy developer and provider in building a shared sustainable energy future.
The virtual event with the theme “Embarking New Path Towards Future Sustainable Energy” was held on Oct 12-13.
It was attended by representatives from leading power utility leaders, government decision-makers, and renewable energy companies coming together to explore the context and implications of growing renewable deployment in shaping the energy industry.
Sharbini delivered the keynote speech at the event, which kicked off after an opening address by British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay. Hay commended Sarawak Energy for being an early mover among Malaysian companies in joining the Race to Zero and reducing carbon emissions.
Race to Zero is a United Nations-backed global campaign rallying non-State actors, including businesses, cities, regions, and investors, to halve global emissions by 2030.
Highlighting the role of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) in the State’s energy transition over a decade ago, Sharbini shared how this strategy and hydropower development was an enabler to many achievements.
“Since the launch of SCORE in 2008, we began to take a holistic view of energy development to balance energy security, sustainability and affordability to drive socio-economic transformation and harnessing hydropower was the ideal option to realise this,” he explained.
“Our generation mix has evolved from being primarily fossil fuel to predominantly renewable hydropower, supplemented by gas, indigenous coal, off-grid diesel and alternative energy for energy security.”
Aside from being an abundant indigenous source of energy, renewable hydropower has resulted in Sarawak offering customers among the most competitive average unsubsidised tariff in the region. The State decarbonised its power system to reduce over 70 per cent in carbon emissions intensity from 2010 to 2020.
Sharbini also shared how rural electrification was growing from 56 per cent in 2009 to 97 per cent by the end of 2021.
SCORE has also enabled Sarawak to position itself as the battery of the ASEAN region and progress its ambition of spearheading the Borneo Grid.
Sarawak Energy has since been recognised as an essential voice of sustainable hydropower development worldwide despite being relatively a smaller organisation from the island of Borneo.
“We are aligned with the San Jose Declaration on Sustainable Hydropower’s principles recently launched at the World Hydropower Congress 2021.
“We are committed to the principles that sustainable hydropower delivers ongoing benefits to communities, livelihoods and the climate, the only acceptable hydropower is sustainable hydropower, and sustainable hydropower requires stakeholders to work together,” added Sharbini.
Sarawak Energy’s hydropower plants are developed per the International Hydropower Association (IHA) Sustainability Assessment Protocol and the International Commission On Large Dams (ICOLD) guidelines.
Sharbini said the company was also exploring alternative clean energy pathways with other renewables like green hydrogen, primarily greening Sarawak’s transportation sector.
Solar power is also utilised to provide micro-grids to light up Sarawak’s remote hinterland villages.
Sarawak Energy is also integrating large scale solar, beginning with a 50MW floating solar on the Batang Ai HEP reservoir, increasing the proportion of alternative renewable energy in Sarawak’s generation mix.
Meanwhile, also speaking at the event were James Ung, the CEO of Sarawak Energy’s generation arm, SEB Power, and Dr Chen Shiun, Sarawak Energy Vice President for Rural Electrification.
Ung participated in a panel discussion on ‘Advancing Malaysia’s Energy
Transformation from the Present to the Future’, where he explained the advantages of hydropower within Sarawak’s context.
Ung shared how this has catalysed Sarawak Energy’s transformation and prominence in the renewable energy sector. He also spoke on the company sharing its renewable energy resources with its neighbours through power grid interconnections.
Chen was in a fireside chat themed ‘Clean Power & New Energy Predictions in 2021 & Beyond’. He emphasised that aside from having relevant policies, support and demand from society and all sectors, particularly financial institutions, were essential in pushing for clean power and new energy.
He also talked about how crucial it was to balance affordability, reliability and sustainability in renewable energy development, which varies from country to country and even localities depending on economic viability and individual needs. — @Green