KOTA SAMARAHAN: The state government has taken the right direction in maximising the usage of hydropower in the state, said Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

Apart from being a renewable energy, Dr Rundi said hydropower that the state currently possesses such as the Bakun HEP, Murum HEP and Batang Ai HEP will be a very important part of the state’s energy generation in the future, particularly in ‘leapfrogging’ the industries in Sarawak.

“As we all know, with the deflation of fossil fuel such as petrol and gas, we have to look at the alternative on how we can generate power. I’m from the Ministry of Utilities where the task given to us is to really look into how we can have sustainable power generation for the state.

“So hydropower will be a very important part of our energy generation in the future. By the year 2025, we will be using 70 per cent of our power generation from hydropower and the fossil fuel and so on will be reduced into a very insignificant percentage in our power generation,” he said when officiating the launching of Green Tech Talk and ‘low carbon campus’ at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) here yesterday.

Dr Rundi noted that the hydropower power generation potential for the state is about 20,000MW, while the power generation potential for gas and coal is about 2,000MW and 1,075MW respectively.

“Our hydropower potential in Sarawak is nothing less than 24,000MW. Therefore, we can be a power hub for Malaysia or even Borneo. If we can double up our infrastructures well, we will be able to cover all the way to Brunei, Sabah, Southern Philippines, Kalimantan and maybe all the way to Peninsular Malaysia.”

In noting that the state government was trying to reduce power generation from non-renewable sources, Dr Rundi said the coal power generation plants in Mukah and Sejingkat were sufficient to be the backup for the state’s power generation.

“The energy that we produced is not only meant for Sarawak alone, we have surplus. Therefore, we have actually put it across the border. Indonesians from West Kalimantan are taking about 150MW from us. It is quite good money for Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB).

“And in the future, they (West Kalimantan) are still asking because the population is big over the other side of the border. We can provide them with infrastructure from Sarawak, extend all the way to Kalimantan and so on and that will be another future for Borneo Grid.”

With sustainable and affordable energy, Dr Rundi believed that the state can be a digital hub, data centre, among others.

“Borneo is at the centre of everything. We are centre of all the big population nations like China and India. Yet, we have not manipulated this to our advantage. Now we are looking at it as something that has very bright future for Borneo Island. When we talk about Borneo (electricity) grid and Borneo water grid, everything must be Borneo so that one day, we will be able to have a real hub for data centre and so on.”

Meanwhile, Dr Rundi said the Green Tech Talk was very timely to create awareness of green technology amongst students and the society.

“I must congratulate Unimas for taking this initiative that you have been looking at renewable energy as part of green technology which is very important for us. I also must congratulate Unimas for creating CREN (Centre for Renewable Energy) that is very important.”

He was also glad that Unimas had taken the initiative to be a ‘low carbon campus’, as he believed that institutions like Unimas could help the government in creating awareness amongst the community of the importance for the people to reduce carbon emission.

While complimenting Unimas’ initiative to be a ‘low carbon campus’, Dr Rundi hoped that the university could be a ‘carbon free campus’ in the near future.

Among those present at the event were Unimas deputy vice chancellor Prof Dr Wan Hashim Wan Ibrahim who represented Unimas vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Kadim Suaidi.

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