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CM: S’wak needs to reduce use of non-renewable energy

KUCHING: Sarawak has to lower its reliance on non-renewable resources if it wants to have energy security to sustain economic growth.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who asserted this yesterday, said “energy is what drives development and underpins economic growth”.

“Global energy demand is forecast to grow by 58 per cent between now and 2040, and we hear of countries racing to secure energy. Sarawak is no different.

“We are aware that we need to detach from being reliant on non-renewable resources if Sarawak is to achieve energy security for a sustainable economic growth,” he said when launching the 4th International Sustainable Energy Summit (Ises) 2018 at the Pullman Hotel here.

Abang Johari said the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that by 2022, global renewables electricity generation was expected to grow by over one-third to over 8,000 terrawatts per hour, equal to the total power consumption of China, India and Germany combined.

“As a result, the share of renewables in power generation will reach 30 per cent in 2022, up from 24 per cent in 2016.

“The report also states that in the next five years, growth in renewables generation will be twice as large as that of gas and coal combined,” he said.

While coal remains the largest source of electricity generation in 2022, he said renewables halved their gap, with coal down to 17 per cent in 2022.

Despite slower capacity growth, hydropower will remain the largest source of renewable electricity generation in IEA’s forecast followed by wind, solar PV (photovoltaics) and bioenergy, he added.

“With Sarawak being unique and blessed with an abundance of natural resources, it is only logical to explore and harness renewables from these resources to further boost our generation figures and secure a stable supply of energy in the state.

“Our many rivers, plentiful rainfall and mountainous terrains have enabled Sarawak to embark and focus on hydropower development which at present represents 75 per cent of the state’s generation mix.

“Fossil fuel, coal and alternative renewables like solar and mini-hydro make up the rest of the mix,” pointed out Abang Johari.

He said hydropower allowed the state government to develop Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) while lowering electricity tariffs for domestic, commercial and industrial consumers.

With SCORE, he said the state’s energy demand took a quantum leap as it triggered a number of downstream businesses and opening up of the state’s rural areas, giving rural towns a boom effect.

He added that the use of hydropower had also enabled the state to reduce carbon emission from supply generation by 72 per cent.

“Other than being a natural resource, hydropower development makes for good business sense as hydropower projects do have a high upfront outlay during the construction phase, but they have very low running costs and can operate for many decades – up to a hundred years in certain cases, making it a viable option that works for Sarawak,” he said.

At present, there are three hydroelectric power plants in Sarawak – Batang Ai, Murum and Bakun.

The fourth, which is Baleh hydroelectric dam, is under construction and expected to be completed by 2026.

Among those present were acting Deputy Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Senator Datuk Seri Devamany S. Krishnasamy, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani, Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom and Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong.

Link: Borneo Post

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