Sarawak Energy prefers storage hydropower over solar energy

Wong presenting his talk while other panellists listen in at SAREF 2019.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Dec 10: Sarawak Energy is in favour of using storage hydropower to provide renewable energy for the state as compared to solar energy.

Sarawak Energy vice-president for hydro, Polycarp HF Wong said that according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) studies, it is still an excellent option as hydro energy sources have a lower life cycle equivalent intensity.

“This means that building, operating and maintaining of storage hydro has lower carbon footprints as compared to the use of solar energy,” he said.

“It is idealistic for people to think solar energy has lower footprints (that is by putting up the glass panel and the sun shines toward it) but if you look at the life cycle, in solar technology you need energy to manufacture it,” he added.

Wong said this at the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Forum (SAREF) 2019 held at Borneo Convention Center Kuching (BCCK), during the third session titled ‘Renewable Energy — Catalyst for Growth in South East Asia’ as one of the panel speakers.

He also told delegates that in solar technology, people have to look at its battery storage and the battery had to be disposed of at the end of its life which is usually seven to ten years.

Wong disclosed that in 2011, hydropower accounts for 15 per cent of the energy generated in the state, which was 1,248 megawatts/hour and by 2018, hydropower accounted for 20,888 megawatts/hour which is 78 per cent of energy generated in Sarawak.

“We had lowered our carbon footprints from 0.698-ton of carbon dioxide to 0.193-ton of carbon dioxide which is 57 per cent lower than the global average. We have contributed to Paris climate change talks (COP) 21 targets for Malaysia and this is the journey towards renewable energy,” he added.

He pointed out that being able to lower carbon footprints in the country, Sarawak Energy asspires to be a regional green core energy utility supplier.

“Our inspiration (sic) is to build a Borneo grid through our hydropower storage for the island and beyond,” he said.

Wong said that Sarawak Energy aspired to provide energy to Peninsular Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

“The inspiration (sic) here is to connect Borneo so we can share and together we can harness our resources and share them what we have in the region and the world.”

Other panellists at the session were Entura Managing Director, Tammy Chu, Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation Head of ASEAN and South Asia, Quan Nan, SMEC International Pty Ltd Deputy Chief Operating Officer for South-East Asia, Karen Atkinson, World Bank Group Senior Energy Specialist, Takafumi Kadono and the session moderator, Astro Awani Deputy Editor-in-Chief Kamarul Bahrin Haron. — DayakDaily