Abang Johari: Sarawak on track to be energy-rich State

Abang Johari (in green shirt) looking at an artist's impression of the multi-fuel station. Also seen are Abdul Aziz (left) and Dr Sim (in yellow shirt). Photo credit: Information Department

By Karen Bong

KIUCHING, Nov 23: Sarawak is going to be an energy-rich State with four of its hydropower dams in Batang Ai, Bakun, Murum and Balleh capable of producing clean or renewable energy including solar and hydrogen.

With global concerns over climate change, net zero carbon emissions on the cards and the world looking at renewable energy sources for the future, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out that Sarawak is on the right track in establishing and preparing itself for the hydrogen economy.

“When we go for hydrogen, we are talking about the future (of energy). Sarawak is blessed with abundance of water, not only in our rivers but the four dams that have been built which will be sources for hydrogen.

“Our dams can produce electricity through turbine-generation, floating solar and hydrogen. There are three sources in one place. We are going to be an energy-rich State.

“We want to control our carbon emissions and that is why the State government is bold enough to go for renewable energy,” he said in his speech at a groundbreaking ceremony for Sarawak’s second Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) multi-fuel station at MJC, Batu Kawa here today.

This development, he continued, demonstrated the Sarawak government’s long-term planning for climate actions.

“Even though Sarawak is a small State, we need to manage our environment well which is why environmental sustainability is one of the focus of Sarawak’s Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS),” he said.

While the initial process to create hydrogen may be costly, Abang Johari believes the cost will go down within 50 years as the world advances in seeking renewable energy solutions and hydrogen is going to be the fuel of the future.

He added that countries like Japan, South Korea and Australia have already signaled interest with agreements sealed to invest in Sarawak.

“They have conducted their studies and know very well we have the resources. The only thing is the technology to process the resources into hydrogen,” he added.

While electric through fuel cells are also considered friendly energy sources, Abang Johari however noted the issue with the disposal of lithium and batteries which only have a five-year life span.

“We go for electricity, we also go for hydrogen. We do this because we have the strength to do it in terms of laws and regulations for oil and gas on our shores.

“But we must have a leader who can think like that,” he said, adding that Sarawak also aims to cut down energy generation using coal at the Sejingkat and Mukah power plants.

“It is minor and Sejingkat (power plant) would be converted to use gas fuel,” he added.

Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Hussain, Petros chairman Tan Sri Hamid Bugo and Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director Datu Muhammad Abdullah Zaidel were among those present. — DayakDaily