Sarawak Energy Group CEO Shares Wildlife Conservation Efforts At AFA Borneo 2015

KUCHING, 7th October 2015, WEDNESDAY: Sarawak Energy is determined to continue and improve on its sustainability and conservation initiatives in all its project developments, following the success of its wildlife monitoring and rescue operation (WiMoR) done within the Murum Hydroelectric Project (HEP) area.

Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit said as the company that was entrusted with delivering the energy for Sarawak to grow, sustainability was a vital component in how Sarawak Energy maximised the positive impact and mitigated any negative impact of its projects and operations.

"As a fully government-owned utility, Sarawak Energy has to deliver the State agenda in a way that is sustainable in the best interest of the people. Our main role is to serve almost 600, 000 customers across the state on a day to day basis, and work with the government to ensure our rural communities also have electricity. In working to deliver the state agenda, we are also creating good jobs for Sarawakians in high skill areas rather than having young men and women leave for the Peninsula or elsewhere, " he said when giving a key note address at the Asia for Animals Conference Borneo 2015 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching earlier today.

"In pursuing sustainable development , Sarawak Energy aims to balance development with both social and environmental impact with the aim of minimising the negative footprint of our projects. As we develop our various power plants so that energy and jobs are available for all, we also want to do what we can for conservation... to protect the environment and wildlife. Our understanding of sustainability is to pursue a balanced form of development and that is what our story is all about. It is about being able to attain our development goals in a sustainable manner,” he continued.

During the development of the Murum HEP, Sarawak Energy worked with Sarawak Forestry Corporation on WiMoR to prepare for the Murum reservoir - rescuing and relocating plants and animals to the banks of the reservoir area and a designated island as the water levels rose during impoundment. The whole project saw the rescue and relocation of 49 species of mammals, 91 species of birds, 23 species of reptiles and six species of amphibians. Over 50,000 trees and plants were relocated including important species such as ensurai, kapur, keruing, meranti, belian, orchids, bamboos and more.

Citing Batang Ai's success as an example of how to balance hydropower development and ecological conservation in partnerships for sustainability, Sjotveit said, “We are learning as we go along. We are aware of the effect our project has on society and we will continue to work with the affected communities as well as stakeholders to minimise any negative impact our projects have on the environment.”

The Batang Ai hydropower station catchment area and associated national park is one of the few places where the wild population of orang utans is being sustained.

Sjotveit said the success of WiMoR for the Murum HEP was inspiring and encouraging and Sarawak Energy would improve on this aspect of sustainability for its other projects by pursuing continuous engagements and partnerships with higher learning institutions, relevant government agencies and likeminded non-governmental organisations.

AFA Conference Borneo 2015, the first to be held in Malaysia, is organised by the Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA). Themed ‘Partnerships Breed Success’, the four-day conference aims to provide a platform for those working on animal welfare and wildlife management in this region to network, exchange ideas and build lasting collaborations. It features a diverse selection of plenaries, symposia and conference sessions on animal welfare and wildlife management among others from various countries.

Sarawak Energy Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit addresses the delegates at the AFA Conference Borneo 2015

Sarawak Energy Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit and Head of Corporate Communications Peing Tajang along with Sarawak Society For the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (SSPCA) President Dona Drury Wee (right) and SSPCA committee member Gracie Geikie (left) tour the exhibition area at AFA Conference Borneo 2015.

Delegates at the AFA  Conference Borneo 2015 listen in on the keynote address.