KUCHING, Feb 21 -- Sarawak aims to attain sustainable growth and prosperity by becoming a Southeast Asian powerhouse to provide the region with affordable and reliable renewable energy, says Chief Minister Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“This target can be achieved as Sarawak is blessed with abundant indigenous resources, including hydropower and natural energy resources that could be harnessed, while sustainability initiatives have been put in place to minimise the environmental impacts of these ventures.
“Since 2016, we have been exporting predominantly renewable electricity to West Kalimantan (Indonesia) and in the near future, we will commence power export to Sabah and eventually aim to materialise the Borneo Grid and become the ‘Battery of ASEAN’,” he said at the Sarawak Energy Centenary Townhall, here, today.
According to him, Sarawak Energy, which is a Sarawak government-owned power supply company, is also preparing its final investment decision to embark on a hydroelectric development project in North Kalimantan which when once realised, will contribute to regional supply reliability, economic growth and prosperity,.
Amid this target, he said the supply needs of Sarawak’s people, particularly those in the rural areas, would continue to be given due emphasis as they had to be equipped with basic infrastructure and facilities to participate in wealth creation activities and improving their living standard.
Abang Johari said only 56 per cent of Sarawak’s rural population enjoyed 24-hour electricity supply in 2009 but as of today, the rate had risen to 97 per cent through the implementation of grid and off-grid solutions that included solar and micro hydro power system.
“Hence, to minimise the gap between urban and rural communities, the Sarawak government has been stepping up on socio-economic development and rural transformation to ensure Sarawak can generate higher economic growth as well as achieve more balanced economic development,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Energy’s group chief executive officer, Datuk Sharbini Suhaili when met after the event, said the company’s plan in North Kalimantan was still at a feasibility study stage conducted jointly with Indonesian company, PT Kayan Hydropower Nusantara.
He said the proposal was to develop the Mentarang Induk Hydroelectric Plant on Mentarang River, located about 35 kilometres upstream of Kota Malinau in the North Kalimantan Province.
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