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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fast Facts on Sabah’s Power Issues

How much power do we have?

  • We officially have about 785 Mega Watts (MW) on the books, however in reality the dependable capacity is about 712 MW while the maximum demand is about 675 MW.

If that is the case why do we have power failures? These figures indicate we have enough supply at the moment?

  • Because the reality of the situation is that our supply of electricity is inefficient due to age and lack of maintenance.
  • It is estimated that they are running at 40% capacity at present!

Do we need a coal-fired power plant?

  • We have alternative energy solutions which were identified in the Sabah Energy Masterplan, this plan identifies hydro projects as a source of electricity generation and does not focus on coal at all.
  • For hydro, Liwagu and Upper Padas were identified and feasibily studies and an Environmental Impact Assessments for the Upper Padas is being carried out, these projects just need to be fast tracked!
  • Liwagu and Upper Padas would both generate 190 MW each!
  • Also note that unlike the proposed Kaiduan hydro scheme which would drown out seven villages both Liwagu and Upper Padas would not and have been in the planning far longer than the coal fired power plant.
  • Sabah has it’s OWN natural gas and if the Kimanis Natural Gas plant is fast-tracked we will have capacity of 300 MW, remember even the coal-fire power plant will take a minimum of three years to be built so why not Kimanis Natural Gas or Liwagu or Upper Padas?
  • Hydro will come under the purview of the State whereas coal-fired power plant is under the purview at the Federal level.
  • Another IPP called Rainhill in Sepanggar is scheduled to generate 190 MW (60 MW by April 2010).
  • So the question should be, if we have this “cleaner” alternatives and we still have to wait for three years for the coal-fired power plants how does this solve our electricity issues? Which option could people, wildlife and nature of Sabah live with?

Let’s talk about renewable energies such as using palm oil empty fruit bunches, why can’t we just use this for a power source, after all Sabah is the number one producer of Malaysian palm oil?

  • The first and major hurdle to any sort of renewable energy is the fact that the Malaysian Government has a policy in place that limits the amount of power that can be produce by using renewable energy!
  • The Malaysian electricity legislation does not allow you to completely “go off the grid”.
  • The same legislation limits the production of electricity via renewable sources to only 10 MW and their sell back price to the grid is lower than other power sources.
  • Does, this make sense? A coal-fired power plant can produce 300 MW but a cleaner (and even cheaper as the source is located here unlike coal) may only produce 10 MW!
  • Following the Prime Minister’s 2010 Budget speech which focussed on green technologies, the Federal Government needs to immediately review these types of outdated policies that are not good for the environment and makes absolutely no sense especially in Sabah for reasons described in number 5 below.

Tenaga National Berhad (TNB) who owns 80% of Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd has repeatedly stated that they make no money from Sabah and that Sabah is part of their Social Corporate Responsibility, so why not let SESB and Sabah proceed with hydro and gas which Sabah has ample resources off? Maybe Sabah should work on certain areas being off the?

  • We cannot answer this simple question, only TNB can.
  • Once again, we note that hydro is under State purview and coal-fired power plant under Federal purview.

RM500 million was spent to do the Sabah grid which was completed in 2007. The head of TNB, Leo Moggie has stated that once the Sabah grid was completed Sabah would not have power problems. And now, he says once Sabah has a coal-fired power plant, Sabah will have no power problems…

  • We as people living in this State should have the right to decide for ourselves!

The current identified location of the coal-fired plant is to the East of Lahad Datu township on the Dent Peninsula.

  • FELDA who owns the land where the coal-fired power plant is to be located has been in the area since the 1980s, yet the local community have NEVER benefited as they still lack power supply (there is power to run the palm oil mills) and no access to fresh water (they rely on rain and ground water).
  • This place has beautiful beaches and previous studies have already shown that the waters of this coastline is abundant with fish stocks and other marine life. And now even this access to abundant fish stocks is at risk for the locals once a coal-fired power plant begins operation and affects not only air quality but also water quality.
  • An estimated RM400 million is needed for infrastructure alone with another RM200 million such to pull the grid to this area!

Five NGOs in Sabah cement anti-coal lobby efforts

Joe Fernandez reported that five leading NGOs came together to form a coalition called Green Surf, or Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future to help present positive ideas and contributions to solve Sabah's energy woes.

They are Leap (Land Empowerment People and Animals), Pacos Trust (Partners of Community Organisations), Sepa (Sabah Environment Protection Association), the Malaysian Nature Society Sabah Branch, and the WWF-Malaysia (Worldwide Fund for Nature), Sabah chapter.”

Effects of Coal Burning

The world is investing too much cash and hope in carbon capture and storage.

"FACTORIES of death" is how James Hansen, a crusading American scientist, describes power stations that burn coal. Coal is the dirtiest of fossil fuels, producing twice the carbon dioxide that natural gas does when it is burned. That makes it a big cause of global warming.

WWF objects coal-fired power plant

Meanwhile, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia will object to the setting up of a coal-fired power plant no matter where the location is in Sabah.

The organisation's first public statement on the issue was made by WWF Malaysia Borneo Programme Director, Dr Rahimatsah Amat, at a luncheon with the media in Centre Point Sabah, Tuesday, 16th June, 2009.

"As far as coal is concerned, our (WWF-Malaysia) stand is clearÉthere should be no coal-fired power plant in Sabah," he said.

Sign your Petition HERE

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