Sharing Sarawak’s Hydropower Story at the 24th World Energy Congress



Delegates at the recently concluded 24th World Energy Congress (WEC) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates were given insight on how renewable hydropower is powering sustainable development in Sarawak.

Sarawak Energy was represented by James Ung, Chief Executive Officer of SEB Power, generation arm of the energy development Group who shared the Sarawak Energy story with an audience of about 80 delegates.

“Sarawak Energy is transforming from a traditional utility into a renewable energy developer and digital utility. In addition to lighting up 99% of Sarawak by 2020, we have a forward vision be a regional powerhouse for ASEAN,” said James.

“Our hydropower story began about thirty years ago with the commissioning of our 108MW Batang Ai Hydroelectric Powerplant (HEP). This was accelerated in the last ten years with Bakun and Murum HEPs and we have a current generation mix of predominantly renewable and affordable hydropower. We have already begun to experience the positive impact in development, social outcomes and our environmental footprint,” he said.

James was a panelist during a plenary session titled “Rethinking Hydro: Powering Tomorrow’s World”, moderated by Seetapathy Chander, Advisor for World Energy Council India. The other panelists included Paraguay's Minister of Public Works and Communications, His Excellency Arnoldo Wiens Durksen, and Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia's Minister of Water, Irrigation & Electricity, His Excellency Sileshi Bekele.

"Our hydropower venture has accelerated the development at our dam sites like Bakun and Murum and in the surrounding areas, and we will continue to maximise the positive impact of HEPs for the community."

Sarawak Energy proactively engages its neighbouring communities in order to ensure best practice in hydropower development as stipulated under the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocols (HSAP) of the International Hydropower Association (IHA) as well as well as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

James continued, “The shift to hydropower from hydrocarbons has significantly reduced carbon emissions in Sarawak’s power system by about 71% since 2009. Through our existing and planned interconnections, we can share our renewable energy resources with our neighbours and further contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions in the region.”

Sarawak Energy commenced export of power to neighbouring West Kalimantan in 2016, and there are talks with Sabah and Brunei for potential power exchange agreements in the near future, in line with Sarawak’s aspiration to becoming a regional powerhouse by realising the Borneo Grid.

The triennial event was officiated by His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Salman Al Saud, State Minister of Energy Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Organised by the World Energy Council, the WEC is a global leadership forum that defines the strategy for a collaborative, sustainable and innovative energy future that enables societal, commercial and community prosperity. This year, the theme was “Energy for Prosperity” and it was attended about 4,000 delegates, including ministers, business leaders, policy-makers and industry practitioners from 150 countries.

James (2nd from right) on the panel at a plenary session titled “Rethinking Hydro: Powering Tomorrow’s World” at the recently concluded WEC 2019.

James sharing Sarawak Energy’s hydropower story.

Team Sarawak Energy at WEC 2019: James (2nd from left), Senior Vice President for Corporate Services, Hajah Siti Aisah Adenan (2nd from right); as well as Senior Manager for Operation, Bintulu Power Station, Wan Malek Bin Wan Ridzuan (far left); and Senior Electrical Engineer Yurimars Bin Morsidi (far right).