Sabah will get special attention in the implementation of the proposed Roadmap for Renewable Energy Production in the country, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
Dompok said this was necessary to help resolve the perennial problem of power shortage in the state.
In this respect, Dompok said, he had requested the Malaysian Palm Oil Board to commission a study on the current status and measures to accelerate the involvement by the oil palm industry in renewable energy production.
“The preliminary report should be ready soon, with the final report ready in another month’s time.
“A roadmap for the implementation will then be drawn up with initial focus on Sabah, where there are issues on power supply stability and electrification,” he said at the Palm Oil Small Renewable Energy Programme seminar here today.
He said the maximum demand for electricity last year was about 14,000 megawatts (MW) in Peninsular Malaysia, 700 MW in Sabah and 900 MW in Sarawak.
Dompok said the palm oil industry should strive to contribute about five per cent, or about 700 MW.
He said currently, there were 415 palm mills, including 117 in Sabah, generating 58 million tonnes of palm oil effluents annually.
“If they can be used to generate biogas and electric power, about 270 MW of electricity can be generated — 159 MW in Peninsular Malaysia, 84 MW in Sabah and 27 MW in Sarawak.
“However, some of these mills may be located too far from the grid to be economically viable for connection. In this case, the biogas can be used to supply electricity to surrounding areas or for internal consumption,” he said.
Dompok also called for a paradigm shift in the operation and strategic planning of the palm oil industry.
“It must look at itself not just as an oil producer but also as a biomass and energy producer, and look at how best to manage its total biomass resources economically and sustainability,” he said.
Speaking to reporters later, Dompok hoped his ministry could contribute to the generation of electricity from biomass and biogas.
On why the initial focus of the roadmap was given to Sabah, he said this was because of the apparent shortage of power supply in the state.
“People (investors) do not want to set up their industries here because they know there won’t be enough power supply.
“Apart from that, when the Sabah government allocated a piece of land for coal generation (power supply) there was a hue and cry from not just non-governmental organisations but a lot of other concerned citizens … and I think this is one way where palm oil can contribute by producing electricity from the effluents and biomass,” he said. — Bernama
Source : Business Times