Sarawak’s hydro resources up Malaysia’s RE capacity mix target to 31 per cent by 2025

SARES scheme with solar system at Long Julan Pelutan, Telang Usan, Miri.

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, June 26: With Sarawak’s large hydro resources being included as part of the Renewable Energy (RE), Malaysia is now able to revise its national RE capacity mix target from 20 per cent to 31 per cent by 2025.

Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said Sarawak contributes 3,452MW of RE from its large hydropower plants of Malaysia’s total large hydro generation capacity of 5,684MW.

These are from the Batang Ai HEP (108MW), Bakun HEP (2,400MW) and Murum HEP (944MW) operated by Sarawak Energy, the State’s energy developer and power utility.

“Sarawak remains fully committed to supporting and contributing towards Malaysia’s targets to the Paris Agreement by helping the country meet its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reduce carbon emissions.

“As Minister for Utilities with oversight of agencies responsible for energy development and electricity provision, I am delighted that Sarawak’s large hydro resources are now included as part of the RE definition for Malaysia.

“In doing so, the federal government can strengthen Malaysia’s Conference of Parties (COP21) commitment by revising the national RE capacity mix target from 20 per cent to 31 per cent by 2025,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Rundi also said Sarawak would increase its renewable energy generation capacity with the 1285MW Baleh Hydropower Project, scheduled for completion in 2026.

“This will eventually be counted in Malaysia’s renewable energy target of 31 per cent of RE capacity by 2025 and the ramp up to 40 per cent by 2035,” he added.

The 2,400MW Bakun HEP contributing to the renewable energy mix.

In addition to employment and greater electrification coverage, Sarawak is also recording sustainability benefits as it was able to decarbonise power system by lowering its grid carbon emission intensity by 68 per cent since 2010.

In 2019, Sarawak has launched its first Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), allowing for corporate purchase of renewable energy generated in the State.

Dr Rundi also mentioned that under the Ministry, RE sources especially solar and mini-hydro are harnessed to supply rural remote communities through the stand-alone off-grid system through the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES) for smaller and dispersed rural communities and Hybrid Scheme for larger remote communities such as Bario and Long Banga.

“The total installed capacity from these off-grid renewable system of about 20 MW have benefitted the State’s rural communities who are now enjoying 24-hour supply,” he pointed out.

Aside from developing the State’s large hydro resources, an initiative listed under the RE sector is the Net Energy Metering (NEM) programme for domestic, small commercial and industrial consumers in Sarawak.

To date, there are 25 projects (mainly education centres) with a total of 570kWp of roof top solar with NEM mechanism in Sarawak.

“Through the State’s 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) from 2021-2025, NEM has been identified as a programme to be rolled out as part of RE initiative to encourage consumers to participate in generating green energy for self-usage. Under this initiative, the target is to achieve 150MW of renewable generation under NEM by 2030,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily