Hydropower way forward to achieve full electrification

SEB Power CEO James Ung

KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) will be focusing on hydropower development to ensure 100 per cent electricity supply throughout Sarawak by 2025-2030.

SEB Power CEO James Ung

“Hydropower is expected to be one of the world’s largest source of renewable energy and electricity in years to come.

It plays a critical role in catalysing economic sustainability, transitioning socio outcomes and improving our environmental foot print,” said SEB Power CEO James Ung, who spoke at the Sustainability and Renewable Energy Forum (Saref) that began yesterday at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here.

Sarawak Energy had successfully provided 96.4 percent power supply to the state overall – 92 percent in rural areas – and aimed to achieve 100 per cent by 2025, he said.

However, he said the power giant still faced a few challenges. “The rural remoteness, mountainous and long yet wide rivers…these make the connection of electricity difficult.

“However, these challenges also give us hydropower development,” he said.

Besides that, SEB also faced other weather challenges such as thick clouds, monsoon seasons and other factors.

Ung said SEB took a holistic approach in energy development. “Currently, SEB focuses on a balanced mix of energy reliability and security, affordability with among the lowest tariff in the region through hydropower development and sustainability.”

He mentioned that SEB had a strong focus on hydropower development based on the fact that large hydro offered the lowest cost of energy among the different technologies available today.

Ung explained the transformation that SEB had gone through in the past decade – from focusing on 90 percent hydrocarbon and only eight per cent hydropower, to 70 percent hydropower supported by oil and gas.

“It is possible to include solar energy into the energy generation mix in the future.”

He said SEB also had an alternate renewable energy for rural hydro-electrification such as micro-hydro and micro-hybrid of the Rural Electrification Scheme (RES).

“SEB also has the lowest average tariffs in Malaysia and in the Asean region, with 76.5 percent drop in carbon intensity (by 2019) for power supply since 2009.

“SEB is one of the key contributors to the Malaysian government’s target of reducing the nation’s carbon emission intensity by 45 percent by 2030.

“Sarawak has the lowest average tariff, which is 38 percent lower than West Malaysia and more than 100 percent lower than Singapore,” he said.

An attractive and competitive tariff had also allowed Sarawak to attract significant investment, advancing the Sarawak Corridor Renewable Energy (SCORE) agenda.

“Hydropower gives Sarawak a competitive advantage, allowing for the making of SCORE the most successful industrial park development in Malaysia,” said Ung.

Saref ends today.