Researchers and civil society members hope to collaborate with the Sarawak Government on clean energy options.
They are cautiously optimistic that Chief Minister Adenan Satem will give them a hearing on the subject.
The consensus emerged during a discussion over luncheon attended by over 90 people in Kuching on Tuesday, said the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Foundation (BMF) in a statement.
Those attending included Sarawak Energy (SE) representatives, government officials, the media and civil society.
The statement delved into the salient points and highlights of the luncheon meet.
Professor Daniel M. Kammen and Rebekah Shirley, from the University of California, presented their research on clean energy options for Sarawak.
They believe that both grid connected and distributed renewable energy systems have significant market potential, said BMF. “This can attract international funding because they can be successfully implemented.”
The statement referred to the international community setting aside funds, within the framework of the Paris Agreement, to invest in renewables in industrializing countries. “Sarawak could access such funding.”
Both dons see their research as offering clean alternatives to mega-dams. “This can play a key role in rural electrification,” said the statement.
Kammen cited California, his home state, as a case in point. “The sunny state proves that fast growth of renewable energy was possible,” said Kammen. “The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as a result, will mitigate climate change.”
Shirley has studied energy growth assumptions under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) initiative in the central region. “These vastly exceed organic growth scenarios,” she said. “They even excel China’s energy growth rates.”
Briefly, the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) Team at the University of California took three years to develop an energy-planning model.
“It’s designed to identify feasible clean energy opportunities, ” said the statement. “Sarawak could use this model to work out its energy needs.”
Adrian Lasimbang and Gabriel Wynn, two locals working on small-scale energy options, shared their experience. They have installed micro-hydros and solar photovoltaic systems in Sabah and Sarawak.
They feel that strong leadership at the village level can ensure success in rural electrification. “The appropriate technology exists,” they said. “The training can be made available.”