Kuching to host ‘Clean Energy Collaboration’ confab next week

SAVE Rivers chairman Peter Kallang showing a printout detailing the upcoming conference.

By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, March 7: The Clean Energy Collaboration conference, to address the best pathways for sustainable and inclusive energy development in the country, will take place this March 15-16 at Pullman Hotel.

The two-day conference will bring together diverse stakeholders including government officials, international and local energy experts, industry representatives and grassroots communities to discuss concrete directions to achieve economically and environmentally sustainable energy systems.

It will stress the inclusive process by which renewable and sustainable power generation could be achieved for the country, particularly in addressing utility-scale and rural energy needs in the state.

Villagers of Long Liam Baram in the process of installing their own micro-hydro plant.

“This conference is a proactive step to promote an environment of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), as stated in the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

“It is a humble initiative by a group of CSOs (civil society organisations) to encourage inclusive and multilateral approaches for arriving at pragmatic and impartial solutions to meet the energy needs of the country,” SAVE Rivers chairman Peter Kallang told a press conference here yesterday.

Villager in Bario installing solar panels on the roof of a building.

SAVE Rivers is one of the organising CSO along with Jaringan Orang Asal Semalaysia (JOAS or The Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia) and Sabah-based PACOS Trust.

It is supported by the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, the United Nation Development Project and the Sarawak Convention Bureau.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is expected to deliver a keynote address at its opening ceremony on March 15. The first day will also feature a keynote presentation from Sarawak Energy vice-president (Rural Electrification) Dr Chen Shiun.

Other distinguished speakers include Prof Daniel M Kammen of University of California’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory as well as Dr Benjamin K Sovacool, Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom and local community leaders James Nyurang and Gara Jalong.

Gara Jalong, the headman of Long Lawen, shows how the turbine of the micro-hydro in his village is used to generate electricity and at the same time to mill tapioca for flour.

Works Minister Baru Bian, Senator Adrian Lasimbang, the founder of TONIBUNG, and former Australian senator and renewable energy policy expert Christine Milne are scheduled to deliver their keynotes on the second day.

Peter said topics covered by the speakers and panellists would be wide-ranging, from domestic and commercial to industrial power supplies in urban and rural areas.

By bringing participants from such a wide-ranging background, the conference will provide opportunities for speakers and delegates to discuss very important and relevant topics regarding power supply, he continued.

“While we are proud to be among the first group of CSOs in Sarawak to take such an initiative, we sincerely hope that this process of collaboration, which is progressive and representative, be heightened and continued.

“With such an approach, a lot of complications and conflicts could be reduced or totally avoided for these projects, whether it is a small or large project,” he said.

SAVE Rivers is looking to submit the outcomes from the conference to the state and federal governments for further deliberation.

Registration for the conference is still open and those interested can visit https://saverivers.org/cleanenergycollab/. For queries, contact +6 011-24749895 or email cleanenergycollab@gmail.com. — DayakDaily