Company has appealed on proposal to use coal: Masidi
Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has not given up on its proposal to set up a 300MW coal-powered plant in Sabah. “TNB has appealed on its proposal of using coal technology in Sabah. As for the proposed coal-powered plant at Silam, it is a straightforward answer ‘no’ as decided by the State Government,” Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said at a press conference after attending a briefing! presentation on coal technology organized by Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) at Sutera Harbour here yesterday. According to Masidi, the East Coast of Sabah is facing a serious shortage of power supply and SESB had to conduct the briefing for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on why Sabah has to use coal to produce electricity. However, several of the participants objected to the proposal. “We are still keeping our option open. Please give SESB a chance to explain the coal technology and environmental mitigation to the NGOs,” said the Minister. SESB Managing Director Jr Baharin Bin Din, who was present, said the focus of the briefing was to highlight the need of electrical power for Sabah and he hoped the participants would realise the advantages of having a coal-powered plant, especially in the East Coast. One of the participants pointed out it would be expensive to import coal from Indonesia to power the plant. “What happens when we have run out of it and who would pay for the expenses in future? “Why don’t we use gas? It is clean and cheap, just like we have seen and experienced in reality today, in Sepanggar!” said the participant. A participant from the public sector spoke on the solar system. “The air that we breath here is natural and Sabahans must know how to utilise it, just like what other developing countries have done to reduce the climate change. Why not think of it as a resource for power supply? “Ninety percent of scientists in Australia believe that it is the best natural resource for the power supply, so if we know how to use our own natural resources here or how to exploit them, it is very beneficial because all these are positive sides that could be applied here,” he said. Unfortunately, an executive from SESB informed that the solar system capacity is not reliable, despite of all its advantages as explained by several NGOs.