Sabah as BIMP-Asean energy mart link
Published on: Wednesday, August 25, 2021
By: David Thien
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah can be the link to supply electricity to Palawan in future and North Kalimantan to Mindanao, too, via undersea cable connectivity.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor said the recent signing of renewable hydro-electricity purchase between Sabah and Sarawak marks the future of cross border sustainable energy supply cooperation in the BIMP-EAGA region with energy grid interconnectivity.
“The BIMP-EAGA power infrastructure sector promotes the optimum use of energy resources. The 2021 agreement between SESB and Sesco was one of BIMP-EAGA priority infrastructure projects under BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025 for the Borneo Grid and the wider Asean Grid.”
This is in the interest of providing affordable electricity. However, the Covid-19 situation has been a great challenge to all, bringing about a new normal as with this virtual event, besides hampering investments.
Hajiji praised organiser Dolly Jimayol and her team for the event’s success. In her speech, Dolly said: “Energy plays a critical role in maintaining a clean environment and a healthy economy.”
Hajiji delegated the officiating of opening the virtual BIMP-EAGA Energy Online Conference and Exhibition on Monday July 23 to Tan Sri Pandikar Amin, the BIMP-EAGA Special Envoy to read out his speech in which he emphasised optimum use of sustainable and clean energy for the future.
In his speech, Emmanuel F. Pinol, the Chairman Mindanao Development Authority agreed that there is potential for Sabah-Palawan electricity grid supply including possibly Mindanao where outages and insufficient power supply hampers economic progress and development not only within the Philippines, but regionally as part of the BIMP-EAGA energy cluster also covering Mindanao and Palawan.
He foresaw the achievement of a balanced energy mix by 2030 that “optimises the use of renewable energy for reliable, sustainable and affordable energy.”
Emmanuel hopes to see the realisation of solar powered water irrigation system and water cistern storage system to benefit agriculture in the Philippines which should also benefit Sabah as Hajiji mentioned under his Sabah Maju Jaya prong, agriculture is one of the three pillars besides tourism and industrialisation drive.
Addressing the event, Indonesian Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Arifin Tasrif mentioned the North Kalimantan-Sabah electricity supply grid potential from his country’s province with massive hydroelectricity potential.
He revealed Indonesia’s Nusantara Grid plans to connect Java, Sumatra, Borneo Kalimantan and Sulawesi together from 2024 accelerating sustainable energy mix to include green energy from solar, hydroelectricity, biomass, biogas and others with the conversion of diesel fuel power generation plants to using natural gas to other renewable green energy for maximum energy efficiency.
As for Brunei Darussalam, through its Brunei Economic Blueprint, the Brunei government aims to diversify the country’s economy away from petroleum, which contributes to 95 per cent of its exports.
“The government is looking to prioritise the downstream oil and gas sector in line with its aspirations in the blueprint,” said Dr Madana Leela of the Energy Industries Council in her presentation, adding that Brunei’s roadmap for Clean Energy Initiatives includes targeting a total of at least 10 per cent renewable energy installed capacity with the Brunei Ministry of Energy identifying several Solar PV projects to be implemented by 2025.
The speakers acknowledged that the event is timely as a platform to drive BIMP-EAGA progress and improve the lives of some 80 million people within the region by interconnecting power supply projects and putting the viable energy sector together for joint progress and development to realise a common production base in the East Asean Growth Area of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.