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Sarawak Energy aspires to share renewable energy expertise with neighbouring countries, says group CEO

Sarawak Energy aspires to share renewable energy expertise with neighbouring countries, says group CEO

16 Dec 2020

Sarawak Energy Berhad aspires to share its renewable energy expertise with neighbouring countries as to become a utility company powerhouse in the Southeast Asia region, said its group chief executive officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili.

“We want Sarawak Energy to go beyond the borders of the country and to spearhead the development of the ambitious Borneo power grid as a first step towards a wider Asean power grid,” he said during a virtual business update with the media today.

He pointed out the company at present was exporting up to 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity to West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Sharbini remarked that the state-owned company was already the largest hydropower developer in the country and about 70 per cent of the state energy generation mix was now sourced from hydropower.

“This is a significant improvement in the generation mix that sourced from the renewable energy compared to 10 years ago. This remaining of the generation mix came from coal and gas power.”

He said the state generation mix that was predominantly renewable hydropower had enabled a 77 per cent drop in carbon intensity for power supply, in line with their commitment towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Moreover, Sharbini pointed out the installed capacity of hydropower energy in the state was about 3,500 MW – comprising Batang Ai Hydroelectric Plant with the capacity to generate 108 MW, Bakun Hydroelectric Plant (2,400 MW) and Murum Hydroelectric Plant (944 MW).

The new 1,285 MW Baleh Hydroelectric Plant is targeted to commence commercial operation by 2026.

In fact, he said the company was planning to deploy floating solar at the reservoir of Batang Ai hydroelectric plant that could generate 50 MW of energy once completed, as part of its sustainability strategy.

“Besides, through Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), we are able to harness the state abundance hydropower resources and to attract investment from power-intensive industry.”

He said the demand for energy for the past nine years had increased by about three-fold with new investment and manufacturing companies shifting to the state.

“In the spirit of transparency, we have also continued to publish our annual and sustainability reports purely on a voluntary basis to provide our stakeholders with a holistic picture of our performance.”

On a separate note, Sharbini said the company has targeted to achieve full electricity coverage across the state by 2025 – increasing rural coverage by at least two per cent to 97 per cent by middle of 2021.

“We support the federal and state government on rural electrification as about 150,000 new rural households have been connected through grid expansion or off-grid solution projects since 2009.”

As for its handling of Covid-19 pandemic, Sharbini said the company supports the government initiatives by providing discounts on electricity bills for all sectors, with a task force being set up to address customers inquiries 24 hours a day

“Our ‘SEB cares’ mobile application has recorded over 100,000 new users over the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, totalling at 220,000 users as at end of November,” said Sharbini.

Sarawak Energy currently employs about 5,400 people and serves over 710,000 customers as of this year.

During the session, members of the media were given a virtual tour of the Bakun Hydroelectric Plant and it will be celebrating its centenary anniversary next year since being established during the Brooke era.  

Source: The Borneo Post