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Radin: Govt supports renewable energy in Sabah

28th October, 2015

By MOHD IZHAM B. HASHIM Izham@newsabahtimeas.com.my

KOTA KINABALU: Innovative approaches in renewable energy is becoming a promising, cost-effective solution in providing electricity supply for rural villagers and brighten the lives of communities living in remote areas of the state.

State Rural Development Minister Datuk Radin Malleh highlighted renewable energy sources is becoming an ideal way for providing reliable energy supply needed to improve the standard of life of rural households and stimulate socioeconomic activities that generate better job and business opportunities

“Renewable energy is one of the best approaches to provide electricity for those living in the rural areas and may contribute to alleviating poverty by providing energy needed for communities to engage in socioeconomic activities that generate business and employment opportunities,” he added.

Moreover, he noted rural electrification projects are necessary to improve quality of life and access to reliable energy supply needed for everyday life, including cooking, lighting and heating.

Speaking at the Seminar on Renewable Energy: Electrification for Rural community yesterday, Radin noted renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass can play a key role in electrification and sustainable development of rural areas without access to electricity grids.

Executive Director for Sabah Insitute for Development Studies(IDS), Datuk Mohd Hasnol Ayub acknowledged rural communities needing electricity supply in remote parts of Sabah are located beyond the reach of main electricity grids.

“It is just not cost-effective due to the high cost of laying long transmission lines to reach rural villages situated in remote areas which are often left behind economically compared to areas with access to electricity,” he added.

Leading the initiative to improve electricity supply in the state, Radin noted the strategy paper entitled “Sustainable Usage of Electricity to Support Growth” for the 11 Malaysian Plan (2016-2020) has outlined the enhancing of rural electrification programmes to improve national coverage to 99 per cent by the year 2020 from the present 94 per cent.

Recognising the need for providing electricity supply for rural villages, Radin noted the state government will continue to focus on off-grid electricity generation for rural areas by tapping into the state’s vast renewable energy sources to produce clean, reliable power supply.

“We are grateful that Sabah is endowed with rich natural resources and immense bio-energy resources from the palm oil industry and with the potential to harness energy from rivers, solar, waves, wind and geothermal which could be used to generate renewable energy and contribute to Sabah’s economic development,” he told some 100 participants who attended the seminar.

According to Radin, electricity supply would be supplied through off-grid systems, such as solar hybrid, mini and Pico Hydro for remote areas located too far from the reach of the main electricity grid. The system would also be supported by off-grid networks to ensure wider coverage.

Under the new initiative, training programmes will also be provided for the local community in maintaining these facilities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the rural alternative electrical system.

A Pico Hydro is a small scale system which uses flowing water to rotate electrical generator turbines with a generation capacity between 0.1 kW and 1kW (kilowatts) and does not require construction of dams nor causes adverse impacts on the environment.

Jointly organised by the IDS and the German political foundation, Konrad Adenauer-Shiftung (KAS), the seminar gathers renewable energy experts, governmental agencies and NGOs to discuss the latest advances on renewable energy, best practices and insights on expediting the implementation of renewable energy systems in rural areas.

In his closing address, Radin described the forum as a conducive platform for experts, governmental agencies and NGOs to share ideas and establish deeper cooperation towards realising the vision of providing clean, reliable and sustainable electricity supply in the state.

Among those who attended the forum were IDS (Sabah) Chairman, Datuk Seri Dr Clarence B. Malakun, Jan Senkyr, Representative of KAS and Organising Chairman of the Seminar, Chong Vun Then and Session Chairperson, Datuk Nancy Ho.

The two-session seminar involved presentations by four guest speakers and experts from Universiti Malaysia Sabah(UMS), Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) and the Renewable Energy Association of Sabah (REASabah).

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