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Sarawak working to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, non-renewable resources

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KUCHING: Sarawak is pursuing a balanced and holistic energy development strategy to ensure energy security, sustainability and affordability to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and non-renewable resources.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg said though environmental sustainability was crucial; energy affordability and security were key factors for the state to develop its energy resources for the region and beyond.

“This means achieving a realistic balance by maintaining predominantly renewable hydropower in our generation mix with indigenous coal and gas for energy security.

“We are mindful that we need to achieve progress in a sustainable manner by learning from the experience and challenges of nations that attained development and eradicated energy poverty by utilising traditional fossil fuel before the global shift to renewables,” he said.

Sarawak’s confluence of rivers and mountainous interior landscape makes hydropower the best provider of renewable, reliable and affordable energy.

The state embarked on its hydropower journey with its first hydropowered plant, Batang Ai, in 1985.

“We commissioned Murum in 2014 and are now embarking on the Baleh project.

“We were also able to acquire Bakun in 2017.

“We were able to boost industrialisation and created our own corridor of renewable energy – the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.

“This has attracted investors, supporting job and business opportunities for Malaysians,” he said.

Abang Johari said it was estimated that only two per cent of the total land area in Sarawak would be utilised if all the identified hydro projects were implemented — including the ones in operation or were being developed.

The state government through Sarawak Energy subscribes to international guidelines in implementing its hydropower projects, to ensure the state is in line with best practices and in partnership with global leaders in hydropower.

The chief minister was speaking at the inaugural Sustainable and Renewable Energy Forum at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), here, which was attended by global icon Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, in her capacity as a Goodwill Ambassador with the United Nations Development Programme.

Abang Johari said Sarawak was continuing to explore and conduct research into other renewables to see which options were viable and suitable in developing the state’s green energy agenda.

Sarawak, he added, provided an ideal setting for enabling the hydrogen economy, given its abundant hydropower resources which enabled the production of clean hydrogen from source.

South East Asia’s first Integrated Hydrogen Production Plant and Refuelling Station was commissioned in Kuching this year by Sarawak Energy working with Linde.

It is a pilot research facility that is generating a greater understanding of how to green the transport sector.

“We will be building six more hydrogen refuelling stations to cater to the anticipated needs of the transport sector. “Two of the stations will be located in Kuching and one each in Sri Aman, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

“We will continue to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel so that our people will be able to enjoy modern and efficient public transport with minimal impact on the environment,” said Abang Johari.

In addition to turning the global push for energy decarbonisation into opportunities to progress renewable energy, Sarawak is also capitalising on other energy disruptors such as digitalisation to improve and innovate, he added.

 

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/12/546588/sarawak-working-reduce-dependence-fossil-fuels-non-renewable-resources

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