Paris Agreement — Sarawak committed to Malaysia’s targets

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KUCHING: Sarawak remains fully committed to supporting and contributing towards Malaysia’s targets under the Paris Agreement by helping the country meet its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reduce carbon emissions, said Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

“I am delighted that Sarawak’s large hydro resources are now included as part of the Renewable Energy (RE) definition for Malaysia,” he said in a statement today (June 26).

He said in doing so, the federal government could strengthen Malaysia’s COP21 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) commitment by revising the national RE capacity mix target from 20 percent to 31 percent by 2025.

He said Sarawak contributes 3,452MW of RE from its large hydropower plants, of Malaysia’s total large hydro generation capacity of 5,684MW.

“These are from the Batang Ai HEP (hydroelectric project) (108MW), Bakun HEP (2,400MW), and Murum HEP (944MW) operated by Sarawak Energy, the state’s energy developer and power utility,” he said.

“As a result of our strategic shift to hydropower development under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), hydropower development has supported Sarawak’s industrial growth, created job opportunities, and enabled Sarawakians to enjoy the lowest average power tariffs in Malaysia and amongst the lowest in the region,” he added.

The 2,400MW Bakun HEP contributing to the renewable energy mix.

Rundi said Sarawak will increase its RE generation capacity with the 1,285MW Baleh Hydropower Project, scheduled for completion in 2026.

He said this will eventually be counted in Malaysia’s RE target of 31 percent of RE capacity by 2025 and then ramp up to 40 percent by 2035.

“In addition to employment and greater electrification coverage, we are also recording sustainability benefits. We were able to decarbonise our power system by lowering our grid carbon emission intensity by 68 percent since 2010,” he said, adding that Sarawak’s first Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) was also launched in 2019.

He said Sarawak’s focus on RE had also provided the foundation for an accelerated rural electrification programme, to meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 7 on access to renewable energy and modern power systems.

He said in addition to grid-connected electricity which is predominantly renewable, Sarawak’s rural communities enjoy off-grid alternative access to RE through solar and mini-hydro hybrid plants and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

“Under the steer of my ministry, RE sources especially solar and mini-hydro are harnessed to supply rural remote communities through the stand-alone off-grid system through the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) for smaller and dispersed rural communities and Hybrid Scheme for larger remote communities such as Bario and Long Banga.

“The total installed capacity from these off-grid renewable systems of about 20MW has benefitted the state’s rural communities who are now enjoying 24-hour supply,” said Rundi.

He said Sarawak’s RE sector had been identified as one of the sectors which will accelerate the state’s economic growth, adding that the RE sector aspires to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for Sarawak by 2030 as Southeast Asia’s powerhouse through affordable, reliable, and renewable energy.

“Aside from developing our large hydro resources, an initiative listed under the RE sector is the Net Energy Metering (NEM) programme for domestic, small commercial and industrial consumers in Sarawak,” he stated.

He said, to date, there are 25 projects, mainly education centres, with a total of 570kWp of roof top solar with NEM mechanism in Sarawak.

He said through the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) from 2021 to 2025, NEM had been identified as a programme to be rolled out as part of the RE initiative to encourage consumers to participate in generating green energy for self-usage.

“Under this initiative, the target is to achieve 150MW of renewable generation under NEM by 2030,” he said.

He said Sarawak’s initiative in harnessing RE will ensure sustainability of these resources over the long term.

“We are committed to maximising our pursuit of balanced and holistic RE development to achieve energy security, energy reliability, and energy affordability for Sarawak.

“We will continue to maintain Sarawak’s position as the country’s largest renewable energy provider,” said Rundi.

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