Sarawak Premier explores bioenergy future at UK’s Drax Power Station

Abang Johari (front row, third left) and other Sarawak officials recently visited Drax Power Station in the UK to gain insights into cutting-edge bioenergy technology. Photo credit: TVS

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, April 23: Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg recently visited the Drax Power Station in the United Kingdom (UK) and expressed optimism about using bioenergy technologies to enhance renewable energy strategies in Sarawak.

According to a TVS news report, the Drax facility is a model of sustainable energy practices since it has effectively switched from coal to bioenergy, using biomass in place of coal.

“There are many new things that we can learn here,” Abang Johari was quoted as saying in the news report, citing Drax’s impressive output of approximately 3.9 gigawatts (GW), which is primarily made up of wood waste imported from Canada and the United States of America (USA).

Above all, he said, Sarawak might gain by understanding how Drax uses technology to convert biomass into energy.

The Premier also drew parallels between Drax’s former reliance on coal technology and Sarawak’s potential adaptations.

“This is an old power plant that now uses biomass instead of coal. We could develop a new, more efficient power plant tailored to the availability of our local resources.

“We aim to produce renewable energy from the resources we have,” he elaborated.

According to TVS, the plant produces around 18TWh of electricity annually, or 6 per cent of the UK’s total electricity supply, and is owned and operated by Drax Power, a subsidiary of Drax Group.

The plant’s four biomass-fired units generate 2.6GW, accounting for approximately 12 per cent of the UK’s total renewable power supply, while the two remaining coal-fired units, capable of generating a total of 1.3GW, are scheduled to be replaced by two 1.8GW gas-fired combined-cycle units by 2025.

Additionally, Drax is the world’s second largest producer of sustainable biomass.

As Sarawak seeks to improve its renewable energy capabilities, the insights gained from the Drax Power Station provide a valuable framework for developing energy solutions that are both sustainable and appropriate for the state’s distinct geographic and economic landscape.

The potential for converting local biomass waste into energy is consistent with global environmental goals and provides Sarawak with a path to energy self-sufficiency.

The Sarawak delegation also included Sarawak Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Sarawak State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki, and Sarawak Deputy Minister for Urban Planning, Land Administration, and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh. — DayakDaily