Thursday, May 15, 2008


Consider renewable energy policy, call to TNB, SESB


Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) have been urged to implement a renewable energy policy. “Almost all developing nations nowadays have their own renewable energy policy because of the climate change which is a huge threat to our environment,” Consumers Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH) Deputy President Nordin Thani said. According to him, the existing energy policy if any or should the Government dcidcs to adopt Out, would affict the quality of lift of future generations in years to come. “Our current investments in the electricity grid, in transport infrastructure and in our building stock will still affect our use of energy in decades to come. For this reason we must look to the long term when we are deciding what our future energy needs will be and where our future energy supplies will come from? “We have to take that long term view into account as we balance the three requirements of our having a cheap, clean, and secure energy supply,” he said. He acknowledged that the Government and TNB are trying very hard to supply, keep and maintain electricity tariff as low as possible. “While this policy would work for a number of years, let us not forget we are now facing significant increases in energy prices as a consequence of having ignored two issues, namely the security of supply and environmental standards. “If we fail to develop our own renewable energy supplies and conservation measures we will find ourselves totally dependent on imported fossil fuels to generate power,” he said. To the question of the usage of coal to generate electricity and its alternative, Nordin said that to his knowledge, the closest alternative resource is gas at 19 per cent. “In my experience, in the UK, 40 per cent of the natural resources is from natural gas, 19 per cent from nuclear, 4 per cent from renewable and 4 per cent from other sources. “But the UK Government is committed in reducing emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels and is currently working towards a target of 10 per cent electricity generated from renewable sources by 2010,” he said. Nordin said TNB claimed that the advances in technology over recent decades by using coal have delivered dramatic reductions in emissions from a coal-fired power station and with new technology available, promises even better reduction. “To my understanding, knowledge and experience, by using a modern clean boiler technology, coupled with biomass blending, it can reduce long - term C02 emissions by about 50 per cent equivalent to the level of modern gas plants and by using carbon capture and storage it can reduce them much further, by more that 90 per cent. “But does it guarantee us a consistent supply of electricity and coal to generate power?” asked Nordin. “Apart from the environmental impact, what is important to the consumer I think in general, is that there is no increase in the electricity tariff when other resources other than fuel is used to generate power. Nordin also said that TNB has received many suggestions and proposals pertaining to the matter of using alternative sources to a coal-fired plant in providing electricity supply Sabah’s east coast in the east of Sabah against the use of a coal fired plant! “These include renewable energy, as unlike fossil fuels, the supply will never become exhausted. The main sources of renewable energy that were mentioned are a) the sun (solar energy), b) the wind, c) moving water (hydropower, wave and tidal energy), d) heat below the surface of the earth (geothermal energy), e) biomass (wood, waste, energy crops),” he added. On the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman’s assurance that a full briefing by independent consultants will be done before any decisions are made on the proposed TNB coal fired plant power project, Nordin said it was a welcomed move by the State Government. Meanwhile, Department of Environment Director Abdul Razak Abdul Manaf when asked for his comments on TNB, intending to shift its coal-fired power project to Tawau, said it would depend on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from TNB. “But we have not received a EIA from TNB related to its intention to set up the coal fired plant power in Tawau”.