environment, but it is not the only solution, says Sabah’s Minister of
Tourism, Culture and Environment
The Sabah state government views Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) Small
Renewable Energy Programme as an environment-friendly option that can
run parallel with coal-fired plants to ease the power shortage.
The programme recommends linking up some 100 palm oil mills to generate
power from biomass gas.
“Power generation from biomass is good
for the environment, but it is not the only solution. We can explore all
possibilities to ease power shortage in Sabah,” state Minister of
Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said.
await the feasibility study by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) to
assess the power distribution efficiency,” he told reporters after
officiating at the Biodiversity and Conservation in Plantations 2010
workshop, organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and the
Incorporated Society of Planters (ISP), in Sandakan yesterday.
“The study also needs to find out how much investment is needed to
link up some 100 palm oil mills in Sabah to generate renewable
electricity from biomass,” he added.
According to the MPOB,
there are 417 palm oil mills in the country, out of which 121 are in
Mills emit greenhouse gas like methane from the retention
ponds after oil extraction. Estate owners can trap methane from the
mill sludge and reuse discarded empty fruit bunches as a renewable
source of clean energy to fuel steam turbines and generate electricity.
Biomass and biogas technology are available.
giant TNB buys renewable energy at 21sen/KWh from green independent
power producers such as biomass plant owners.
Also present at
the workshop were MPOC deputy chief executive Dr Kalyana Sundram and ISP
vice-chairman Charles Chow.
“Out of these 121 mills, we can
identify that 30 are within close range of the power grid. If these 30
mills can generate 10MW each, it will be enough to supply 300MW.
Therefore, we feel there is no need for the proposed 300MW coal-fired
“The MPOB cess that we pay should come back as
technical help to re-engineer our palm oil mills to be efficient power
generation plants,” Chow said.
“We want to adopt a zero-waste
policy and this is an opportune time to come up with a comprehensive
energy policy for Sabah,” he added.
Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd,
which is 80 per cent owned by TNB, faces tremendous pressure to step up
power supply in the eastern part of the state.
Sabah is the
only state in the country that has long suffered from frequent power
Malaysia has a System Average Interruption Duration
Index (Saidi) target that tracks the number of minutes consumers
experience power failure in the state. Sabah recorded a high rate of
2,870 minutes/consumer annually at the end of last year.
for electricity in Sabah is 750 MW, while the state can generate 800MW.
However, an additional 20-25 per cent of power supply is needed to
ensure reliable supply.
Last week, Energy, Green Technology and
Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui pledged that electricity
interruption in Sabah would be considerably reduced to 700
minutes/consumer by the year-end, failing which he would step down from
Source : Business Times by Ooi Tee Ching