Advancing Leadership in Renewable Energy Solutions: Sharing Sarawak Energy’s Sustainability Stories at CIMB's The Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit 2020

23 OCTOBER 2020

At CIMB’s The Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit 2020, Datu Haji Sharbini Suhaili, Sarawak Energy’s Group Chief Executive Officer, shared the aspirations, initiatives and ongoing efforts of Malaysia’s largest renewable energy provider in working towards a sustainable energy future.

State-owned enterprise Sarawak Energy is the first company in Malaysia to sign the pledge for “Business Ambition for 1.5°Celsius” under the United Nations Global Compact. It is also the first company in East Malaysia as well as the first from the utility sector to secure a Sustainability-Linked Loan (SLL) from CIMB. This was discussed during a virtual CEO Fireside Chat on “Creating a Sustainable Business Model that Works”.

During the moderated session, Sharbini said, “We believe that we can make a significant contribution, both operationally and by raising awareness through this pledge in supporting global businesses in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Climate change is one of the bigger risks the world is currently facing as all economic activity requires energy, and we are an energy developer and utility provider with the ability to make real changes by our strategic decisions."

Through the strategic Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy or SCORE, Sarawak has significantly reduced its dependence on fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources in its generation mix while pursuing economic growth for its people. As the implementation agency for the Sarawak Government in the power sector, Sarawak Energy has become the largest renewable energy provider in Malaysia with a portfolio of three hydroelectric plants generating 3,452MW of renewable energy with a fourth hydroelectric plant in the pipeline.

Sharbini added, “With a predominantly renewable hydropower generation mix complemented by indigenous thermal resources for energy security, Sarawak Energy’s decarbonisation efforts have seen the carbon dioxide emission intensity of Sarawak’s main grid decrease by 76.5% since 2009.”

With support and funding from the Sarawak Government, Sarawak Energy is utilising alternative renewables like standalone solar and micro hydro technologies to electrify rural Sarawak with a target to achieve full electrification by 2025.

In addition, under the umbrella of the Sarawak Government’s sustainability agenda through renewable energy, Sarawak Energy is pioneering research in green hydrogen towards enabling a hydrogen-based economy through a Hydrogen Production Plant and Refueling Station, the first in Southeast Asia.

“Ultimately, these efforts are geared towards supporting and complementing Sarawak’s ongoing transition to a low carbon economy in the long-term, minimising carbon emission while accelerating the State’s economic development,” explained Sharbini.

In line with the state, national and global sustainability agenda, Sarawak Energy has developed a high-level strategy for Climate Action to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts. Together with science-based targets initiative (SBTi) under the “Business Ambition for 1.5°Celsius” pledge, Sarawak Energy will embark into voluntary climate-related financial disclosures guided by the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) for better access to data in managing climate-related risks. This will increase the effectiveness in measuring and evaluating climate-related risks pertaining to Sarawak Energy and its supply chain.

Sarawak Energy is also building up internal sustainability advocates by educating its 5,200 strong workforce through various internal initiatives including ‘Go Green Campaign’ in 2017 which saw the removal of single-use plastic and styrofoam from its catering facilities and this year’s ‘Sustainability & Sarawak Energy’.

Sharbini also pointed out that the implementation of Sarawak Energy’s sustainability agenda has its own set of challenges, including the continuous pursuit to achieve a balance in meeting the needs for sustainable development, stakeholders’ expectations and value creation.

He added that the recent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated Sarawak Energy’s business digitalisation plan with the corporation piloting remote operations of its power plants and smart metering initiatives for customers, reducing the overall carbon footprint of its operations.

Sharing his thoughts on keys to driving sustainability for Sarawak Energy and its community, Sharbini concluded, “Purposeful collaborations and synergistic partnerships with organisations like CIMB and NGOs who share the common goal of sustainable development will support the sustainable development for Sarawak and its people.”

Group Chief Executive Officer Datu Haji Sharbini Suhaili shared Sarawak Energy’s sustainability aspirations and ongoing initiatives at the virtual Fireside Chat on “Creating a Sustainable Business Model that Works”.

The 2,400 Bakun Hydroelectric Plant contributing to Sarawak’s generation mix of predominantly renewable hydropower.

Utilising alternative renewables like SARES solar-powered systems to electrify Sarawak’s most remote villages.

Sarawak Energy’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Datu Haji Sharbini Suhaili