Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sabah seeks more investors for Renewable Energy

Sabah Institute of Developement Studies (IDs) on Tuesday organised a seminar entitled 'Greening of Sabah: Renewable energy options for the near future' in Kota Kinabalu. It's a good indication for the renewable energy industry, but let's hope this is not just a seminar that ends there.

This forum should be used to reassess the role and progress of the renewable energy sector in the country as a whole and in Sabah specifically from the perspective of both government and the private sector.

In other words, the government should not put too much of red tapes if it supports the development of renewable energy. Too much of a hassle and the private investors will shy away.

Teo (middle) receiving a memento from IDS chairman Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun at the seminar. Photo: The Borneo Post

Academic and research institutions should do more rigorous and extensive research activities pertaining to renewable energy development, said Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

Teo, who was representing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, pointed out that solutions can be found in community based renewable energy projects including micro hydro and solar systems which are absolutely critical in meeting power supply needs of those living in remote locations.

With government support, more contribution from the private sectors in developing this sector is much expected given that we have renewable resources such as biomass from our extensive oil palm sector and natural resources that can support growth of the sector.

Demand for electricity in the state is expected to pick up considerably in the near future given Sabah’s on-going economic development. It had increased at an annual average of about 8% to 10% and is expected to continue at about 7.7% a year into the foreseeable future.

Due to rapidly increasing demand, unplanned outages lead to costly service interruptions especially in the east coast which is almost wholly dependent on diesel plants at the moment.

But the completion of the Kimanis and SPR Energy power projects next year are expected to stabilize power generation, generating 385 MW and increasing the state’s total generating capacity to approximately 1,400 MW.

The minister pointed out that in this context, the state Government is committed in embarking on aggressive strategies to promote large scale use of green energy and to support the development of the renewable energy sector.

Off-grid renewable energies vital

Off-grid renewable technologies, especially from non-hydroelectric resources will be one of the pivotal solutions to provide a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to meet the state’s power demand as the state’s economy expands.

However, government initiatives need to be supported by other stakeholders as the role of the government is to provide transparent and stable policy guidelines that facilitate investment such as sufficient infrastructure, incentives, technical and financial assistance.

Source: The Borneo Post, November 13, 2013

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