Sarawak’s socio-economic growth hydro-powered, international confab told

Sharbini (second from left) in a panel session on renewable energy sources.

SINGAPORE, Nov 15: Delegates at a high-level conference here yesterday were given insight into why sustainable hydropower remained the best catalyst for socio-economic growth in Sarawak.

Addressing the 4th Power Week Asia, Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer (CEO) Datu Sharbini Suhaili shared Sarawak Energy’s experience in transforming from a traditional utility to a key hydropower developer with a forward vision to not only power Sarawak but also beyond.

“It has been quite a transformation for Sarawak Energy. Hydropower is expected to remain the world’s largest source of renewable electricity generation. In Sarawak, we made an early start in hydropower 30 years ago with Batang Ai. This was accelerated in the last 10 years with Bakun and Murum HEPs, and we have already begun to experience the positive impact in catalysing development, social outcomes and our environmental footprint.


“With international best practice guiding us through our association with the International Hydropower Association, venturing into hydropower has brought tangible benefits, including the acceleration of rural infrastructure development at our dam sites. The increase in generation capacity from hydropower has enabled the establishment and expansion of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy or SCORE, which has attracted investment from energy-intensive industries into Sarawak as a result of our globally competitive tariffs,” he said when delivering his paper titled ‘Hydropower Development: Catalyst for Sarawak’s Socio-Economic Growth’.

Describing the changing energy development scenario in Sarawak, Sharbini said hydropower had also enabled Sarawak Energy to export of power to neighbouring West Kalimantan and open doors for collaboration with Sabah and Brunei for potential power export agreements.

This, he said, was in line with Sarawak’s aspiration to become a regional powerhouse by realising the Borneo Grid.

Sharbini was also in a panel session ‘Which renewable energy source is the most promising?’ that was moderated by Steve Iyer, vice-president of Canadian Solar.

The other panellists were Juwi Renewable Energies Singapore regional director (Asia Pacific) Valerie Speth and Sembcorp Industries Singapore senior vice president Sunil Gupta.

Power Week Asia is an international conference and summit for the electric power and energy sector. It provides expert views, valuable takeaways and insights on the energy industry’s outlook and also serves as a networking platform. — DayakDaily