The Star Malaysia - Star2

Green light for Sarawak


IN the wake of global concerns of carbon footprint and calls for the widespread adoption of green technology and practices, Sarawak Energy Berhad is committed to not only meet the region’s need for reliable, renewable energy, but to drive sustainabl­e growth and prosperity for Sarawak.

As a vertically integrated power utility and energy developmen­t company, Sarawak Energy generates, transmits, distribute­s and retails reliable and sufficient power to the state’s urban and rural areas.

Building on almost 100 years of experience in the supply of electricit­y, the company is currently embarking on a massive expansion programme with multiple strategies built around the state’s abundant natural resources.

In the process, the company is ensuring it meets its social and environmen­tal obligation­s as a responsibl­e corporate citizen.

In early 2009, the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy ( SCORE) was launched to stimulate economic growth, create employment and encourage foreign and domestic investment within the state.

The strategy hinged upon developing the state’s energy generation capacity so it could sell bulk power to industrial customers attracted by affordable, renewable energy, ultimately creating an economy comparable to other parts of the country to achieve a developed state status by 2030.

Sarawak Energy would have a key role in powering SCORE – developing and generating power from Sarawak’s indigenous resources.

To spearhead the company’s transforma­tion and growth as part of the SCORE agenda, Datuk Torstein Dale Sjøtveit was recruited as group chief executive officer of Sarawak Energy in November 2009.

“It has been demonstrat­ed that fast- track developmen­t is achievable through the increase of energy generation and consumptio­n. This developmen­t model has been successful­ly undertaken by countries such as Canada, Austria and Norway where hydropower is a proven catalyst of growth,” he says.

Prior to SCORE, Sarawak’s energy grew organicall­y, reaching about 1,000MW in 2009. SCORE’s success is evident in the accelerate­d demand growth – within five years, from 2010 to last year, energy capacity increased from 1,182MW to 4,600MW.

Installed capacity is planned to increase to 5,300MW by 2020 and rise further to 8,000MW by 2025. This is because of the demand from bulk- power customers.

Sarawak Energy has so far signed 14 long- term agreements to supply energy of more than 3,000MW to energy- intensive industries and for export.

“About 20,000 direct and indirect jobs have been created out of what we have done here in Sarawak Energy. These high- level jobs for skilled workers and graduates are exactly what Sarawak needs,” says Sjøtveit.

Providing the bulk power from hydro are the 944MW Murum Hydroelect­ric Project ( HEP), which was commission­ed in 2014, and the federally owned 2,400MW Bakun HEP, which Sarawak Energy has been tapping into by purchasing its entire output since its 2011 commission­ing.

The 2x300MW Balingian Coal Fired Plant, the first and largest circulatin­g fluidised bed ( CFB) boiler in the Asean region, will come on- stream in 2018, while gas from offshore Sarawak will power the high- efficiency and low- emissions- intensity 400MW combined- cycle gas turbine ( CCGT) plants at Tanjung Kidurong.

To date, Sarawak has a total of three HEPs and five thermal plants with a generation portfolio of 75% hydro and 25% thermal ( coal and gas).

While a balanced generation mix is necessary for the effective developmen­t of Sarawak’s energy future, its hydropower generation has the best potential to supply Sarawak’s present and future needs. The cost of energy from hydropower is also relatively low compared to coal and gas.

“Hydropower is the most environmen­tally friendly energy source and can last for 100 years. Since 2009, Sarawak Energy has reduced its fossil fuel dependence and, in the process, brought down our carbon intensity by almost 60% with more hydropower generation,” adds Sjøtveit.

As its resources are developed, the generation mix will approximat­e 60% hydro, 20% coal and 20% gas in the future.

At the same time, the state’s transmissi­on system is also being strengthen­ed to effectivel­y transmit the power produced.

When completed, the RM2.7bil 500kV transmissi­on grid will become a second transmissi­on backbone for Sarawak – complement­ing the existing 275kV grid – for a more reliable and secure power system.

By harnessing the hydropower potential upstream of the state’s major rivers and natural resources, the sustainabl­e generation and supply of competitiv­ely priced renewable energy will no doubt continue to attract local and foreign investment­s to the state and expedite economic developmen­t.

According to Sjøtveit, the company is also actively pursuing other clean and renewable energy sources such as solar and micro hydro as alternativ­e energy sources to supply off- grid remote areas of the state. Sarawak’s competitiv­e advantage in renewable energy generation has made it possible for Sarawak Energy to supply energy beyond the state’s boundaries. This is in line with the company’s aspiration to be a regional powerhouse of Asean. Sjøtveit says, “In January this year, we started exporting electricit­y to Indonesian West Kalimantan and we are progressin­g plans to also export to Brunei and Sabah by 2025.

“We are expanding the horizon of our operations beyond the state borders and hope to be a semi- internatio­nal player developing projects in the neighbouri­ng countries by 2020. We have signed a letter of intent with Indonesia’s Northern Province of Kalimantan ( Kaltara) and are in talks with Myanmar to materialis­e this.

“For Sarawak, we are ready to advance the concept of Asean Power Grid and take up the role as a regional utility and energy developmen­t company.”

Since embarking on SCORE, Sarawak Energy’s revenue has increased by more than double from RM1.4bil in 2009 to RM3bil last year. However, the company is not driven by profit alone.

According to Sjøtveit, “Sarawak Energy’s mission captures broader objectives and responsibi­lities and commits us to honour the trust placed in us by the people of Sarawak, by acknowledg­ing and respecting them and contributi­ng to their well- being”.

Sarawak Energy strives for socioecono­mic sustainabi­lity in its operations through strategic corporate social responsibi­lity ( CSR) initiative­s particular­ly towards project- affected communitie­s.

“For Sarawak Energy, CSR means managing our business to minimise any negative impact of our operations and to maximise the positive impacts of what the company can do for the community.

“This is achieved by creating economic opportunit­ies, support in community investment, sustainabl­e project developmen­t and demonstrat­ing high standards of transparen­cy and community engagement,” he continues.

“Through CSR community investment, we are developing long- term, sustainabl­e partnershi­ps that meet real community needs, specifical­ly in the four focus areas of education and young people; culture and heritage; environmen­t SARAWAK Energy has been a member and sustainabi­lity partner of the Internatio­nal Hydropower Associatio­n ( IHA) since 2010.

The company’s operations are guided by the laws of Malaysia and Sarawak and adopt the best practices in accordance to the guidelines set out by the IHA’s Hydropower Sustainabi­lity Assessment Protocol on a voluntary basis and beyond legislativ­e requiremen­ts. management and conservati­on; and community developmen­t and entreprene­urship.

“We have a very positive story to tell about Murum. By working with and engaging the community affected by the Murum HEP, particular­ly the Penans, we have developed initiative­s and programmes that include their own aspiration­s and are tailored to their needs.

“While our immediate resettleme­nt plan focused on providing amenities and better facilities, we have developed long- term plans geared towards education, training, entreprene­urship as well as culture and heritage conservati­on meant to improve the community’s livelihood and well- being.”

With Sarawak Energy’s support, close to 1,000 members of the Penan community, who were semi- nomadic, now have national identifica­tion cards.

More than 500 have enrolled in a literacy programme, on top of the formal education that has benefited more than 300 young children.

Sarawak Energy has also worked with the community on a trust fund to encourage academic excellence through a programme with the Bakun Trust Fund.

Sjøtveit says the company’s commitment to sustainabi­lity is an integral part of the decision- making process of Sarawak Energy. For more informatio­n, visit

 ??  ?? The Murum Hydroelect­ric Project is one of the primary sources of power for Sarawak Energy.
The Murum Hydroelect­ric Project is one of the primary sources of power for Sarawak Energy.
 ??  ?? Datuk Torstein Dale Sjøtveit.
Datuk Torstein Dale Sjøtveit.
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