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Sarawak's Ministry of Utilities & Sarawak Energy Explore Innovative Options to Advance State Electrification with Distributed Direct Tapping Strategy
KUCHING, 17 MARCH 2018, SATURDAY: Technological innovations in the power industry can advance the state mission to achieve full electrification for Sarawak by 2025.
To gain insight into innovative technologies that could accelerate or revolutionise rural electrification, Minister for Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom led a delegation from the Ministry and Sarawak Energy to technology leader ABB at their factory in Lodi, Italy this week.
Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Water Supply and Syed Mohamad Fauzi Shahab, Director of Electricity Supply Ministry of Utilities were part of the delegation.
Sarawak Energy was represented by Sharbini Suhaili Group CEO and Dr Chen Shiun, Vice President for Research & Development whose team provides technical support for the ministry’s rural electrification efforts.
The group was received by Matteo Marini, Lead Division Manager ABB Power Grid Division Europe and Pieralvise Fedrigo, General Manager High Voltage Products ABB Italy, and briefed on innovative and cost effective solutions for powering remote sites. One such innovative technology is by direct tapping to existing High Voltage (HV) transmission lines using transformer inductive power (TIP) stepping down to voltage levels that can be connected to households.
The team was in Italy to receive an international award from the Alliance for Rural Electrification for the innovative community-based off-grid SARES programme. In addition to the ABB factory in Lodi, the delegation also visited Lanuvio to see an example of distributed direct tapping in a rural setting.
“My Ministry will continuously search for ways to bring power to rural folk. Our current strategies to ensure greater access to electricity for Sarawakians include normal distribution Rural Electrification Scheme extension; transmission extension under our Rural Power Supply Scheme as well as standalone renewable hybrid and our now internationally recognised Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme or SARES,” said Dr Rundi.
“Together with Sarawak Energy, our Ministry is now considering distributed direct tapping Extra High Voltage or EHV substations as a fifth strategy. When this cost effective strategy is realised, we will be able to provide electricity supply to some of our rural communities living ‘under’ transmission lines, by tapping into those overhead lines,” he elaborated.
Current conventional design typically bypasses villages or longhouses underneath transmission lines because of the prohibitive cost of constructing conventional substations. Typical transmission design supplying into the sparsely populated rural areas require conventional end point EHV substations costing over RM100million. This also requires long distribution lines radiating from end point substations to reach longhouses and villages, increasing further the cost to supply.
TIP technology provides the ability to tap into transmission lines at various points so that villages underneath or near power lines can be supplied more economically. The smaller and less expensive direct-tapping EHV substations can be distributed along transmission lines and sited nearer to villages and longhouses, requiring shorter distribution lines and improving reliability of supply.
“We will find ways to integrate the distributed EHV direct tapping transformer to ensure that the performance and quality of supply to rural areas will not be compromised, and they will have same quality and reliability of supply that urban residents enjoy,” assured Fauzi in his role as Sarawak’s electricity supply regulator.
“As the implementing agency, we are focused on innovative and cost effective electrification solutions. We will continue to support the State government in their mission by exploring grid-connected and off-grid technologies from countries and companies with advanced technology for potential application in Sarawak,” said
“We continuously monitor developments in the energy sector and adapt them to our unique rural conditions. The transformer utilises gas insulation allowing for a more compact design, and is ideal for remote electrification. Any increase in demand allows for additional units to be installed due to the modular design of the transformer,” explained Dr Chen.
Dr Chen further elaborated that their team will study distributed transmission EHV substations collaborating closely with the Ministry to provide technical advice on the scheme in areas such as the need for protection, control coordination and digitalisation in the control and operation of the system.
“Leveraging on innovative transmission equipment, I am confident my Ministry and Sarawak Energy can push for our full electrification at a lower cost and wider reach by 2025,” concluded Dr. Rundi.
Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister for Utilities, presents a memento to Matteo Marini, Lead Division Manager Power Grids from ABB as from left, Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Water Supply, and Sharbini Suhaili, Sarawak Energy Group CEO look on.
Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister for Utilities and the rest of the delegation from Sarawak on a tour of the ABB factory in Lido, Italy. Also seen in the picture from second left: Sharbini Suhaili, Sarawak Energy Group CEO and Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Water Supply.
Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister for Utilities (centre) with from left, Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Water Supply, Dr Chen Shiun, Sarawak Energy Vice President for Research and Development and Syed Mohamad Fauzi Shahab, Director of Electricity Supply Ministry of Utilities visiting a substation owned by transmission system operator, Terna at Lanuvio Italy which uses the TIP technology.
Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister for Utilities with from left, Dr Chen Shiun, Sarawak Energy Vice President for Research and Development, Syed Mohamad Fauzi Shahab, Director of Electricity Supply Ministry of Utilities, Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Water Supply and Thadeus Ling Allu, Special Administrative Officer with the Ministry of Utilities at a substation owned by transmission system operator, Terna at Lanuvio Italy which uses the TIP technology.
Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister for Utilities outlined the state’s rural electrification strategies to an audience of high-level representation of technology providers in the off-grid sector at the 4th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum in Catania, Italy.