When we said we’d be an economic powerhouse one day, maybe not many people would have believed it.
Let’s face it, being on the island of Borneo is not one of the most strategic places to be, especially if one has a vision of becoming Malaysia’s richest state one day (the year 2030 to be exact!).
And to have one of the last rainforests in the world in our beloved State just doesn’t feel like a wonderful blessing sometimes – in fact, it feels more like a curse, especially if you’re constantly berated and scolded and insulted for cutting down trees (no matter how sustainable your logging practices!) and supposedly totally destroying the habitat of one of the most iconic animals in the world.
But make no mistake, Sarawak is trying hard to achieve what seems to be the impossible dream.
We’re on our way towards creating a more prosperous society, without sacrificing our environment (too much).
When I say “too much”, I mean too much by the standards that other industrialized countries have done long before we started our march towards industrialization.
The key words I’d like to stress here are “sustainable” and “development”.
For me, sustainable development quite simply means that we’ll have money in our pockets AND the air will still be good enough to breathe, the water will still be good enough to drink, the earth will still be good enough to grow food AND our natural environment will still be a place for us to rest and relax and enjoy with our family and friends.
As always, I digress from the topic I’m supposed to talk about, which is to highlight the fact that Kalimantan will be buying electricity from us very soon.
With our Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), what we’re offering investors and customers from all over the world is a serious and focused and concerted effort to develop energy-intensive industries through the generation of immense power from our current and future hydroelectric dams.
Simply put, it means people and companies from all over the world are looking at Sarawak as a good and stable place not only to get electricity but to make money.
It’s no accident that we’re the only state in Malaysia that has international credit ratings as good as our national oil company Petronas (meaning if we want to borrow money from big banks overseas, they trust us enough to lend with lower interest rates). Terrific, ain’t it?
Having our neighbour as our customer is also a good thing because it proves our naysayers wrong again…when they accused Bakun of being a white elephant and that NOBODY was going to use up THAT much electricity. Remember?
Now, however the naysayers are singing a different tune and saying that all this progress and development for our people will destroy our natural environment.
But Sarawak has proven them wrong once before, and I’m sure Sarawak will prove them wrong again.
How The Borneo Post reported the Sarawak – Kalimantan deal:
Sarawak set to be energy powerhouse
July 19, 2011, Tuesday
KUCHING: The state will be exporting its first bulk electricity to West Kalimantan by the middle of 2014.
A Power Exchange Agreement (PEA) between Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and PT PLN PERSERO (PLN) for the export of bulk electricity from Sarawak to West Kalimantan was signed in Jakarta yesterday.
According to Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, the agreement will be the state’s platform as an energy powerhouse in the region.
“This is a great deal for both Sarawak and Indonesia. This idea has been on the BIMP-EAGA agenda for many years, so I am thrilled that this vision is now one step closer to reality,” said Awang Tengah who is also Minister of Public Utilities.
“The interconnection provides Sarawak the platform to become a powerhouse in the region and allows Indonesia to capture massive savings compared to the cost of the oil-fired power mainly used today,” he added.
Awang Tengah added that the agreement is a great example of what the state can achieve through cooperation with neighbouring countries.
“I congratulate both SEB and PLN for completing this deal and I look forward to seeing even greater cooperation between the two utilities into the future,” he stated.
SEB was represented by its chief executive officer (CEO) Torstein Dale Sjotveit and PLN was represented by Planning and Technology director Nasri Sebayang.
The key term of the PEA is that SEB will sell to PLN up to 230MW of power, using a new 275 kV transmission line that will connect Mambong in Sarawak to Bengkayang in West Kalimantan.
Construction of the new line is planned to commence in early 2012 with the first power transmission by mid 2014.
How PT PLN PERSERO (PLN) reported the deal on its corporate website:
(Jakarta, 18/7). Direktur Perencanaan dan Teknologi PLN, Nasri Sebayang (kanan) tukar menukar berkas kerjasama dengan Chief Executive Officer SEB, Mr. Torstein Dale Sjotveit (kiri) yang disaksikan oleh dari Negara Bagian Sarawak Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management & Minister of Public Utilities Sarawak The Honourable Datuk Amar Hj. Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (Tengah) usai penandatanganan kerjasama di bidang Ketenagalistrikan, Jakarta, Senin (18/7).
Kesepakatan antara PT PLN (Persero) dan Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) tentang kerjasama pembangunan interkoneksi ini, maka potensi keuntungan yang bisa dirasakan oleh PLN dalam penyediaan tenaga listrik, khususnya di wilayah Kalimantan Barat, diantaranya; Meningkatkan pasokan daya non-BBM ke Kalimantan Barat yang berasal dari Sarawak yang secara mayoritas dibangkitkan dengan menggunakan PLTA yang lebih ekonomis, sehingga memungkinkan penurunan biaya operasi; Meningkatkan keandalan operasi sistem kelistrikan Kalimantan Barat, sekaligus meningkatkan cadangan daya sistem kelistrikan Kalimantan Barat.