Sarawak to build six more hydrogen refuelling stations

  • Energy
  • Monday, 16 Dec 2019

KUCHING: Sarawak will build six more hydrogen refuelling stations in major towns to boost the usage of the clean fuel for hydrogen-powered vehicles in efforts to green the transportation sector.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the new hydrogen refuelling stations would include two more in the state capital, and one each in Sri Aman, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

These new refuelling stations are to cater to the anticipated needs of the transportation sector, he said when opening the inaugural “Sustainable and Renewable Energy” forum here recently.

In May, Johari launched Sarawak’s integrated hydrogen production plant and refuelling station here undertaken by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) in collaboration with Linde EOX.

The plant and refuelling station is the first in South-East Asia and a pilot research facility to generate a greater understanding of how the state could green the transportation sector.

“The outcome of this research will guide us in our next steps on the application of hydrogen and fuel cells here, and its success will benefit Sarawak by opening potential opportunities for export to global markets.

“As part of our research on the viability of this fuel of the future, we are currently testing three hydrogen buses on the road. These buses are under the ownership and management of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation, ” said Johari.

He said Sarawak provided an ideal setting towards the development of a hydrogen economy, given its abundant hydropower resources which enable the production of clean hydrogen from source.

To develop its green energy agenda, Johari said Sarawak, besides the development of hydroelectric dams, had continued to explore and conduct research into other renewables to see which options are viable and suitable to be included in SEB’s generation mix.

Sarawak built its first hydroelectric dam in Batang Ai, Sri Aman Division in 1985. SEB has since commissioned the 644MW Murum dam and acquired the 2,400MW Bakun dam from the federal government. The state-owned company is currently constructing the 1,285MW Beleh dam.

On land use for hydropower development, Johari said only 2% of Sarawak’s total area, based on a study, would be utilised if all the identified hydro projects (about a dozen) are implemented. Currently, less than 1% has been affected.

Johari said the hydropower development has benefitted Sarawak and boosted its industrialisation through the set up of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) that has attracted energy-intensive industries and created job and business opportunities for the locals.

Since Sarawak embarked on its hydropower development, it has reduced carbon emission intensity from its power system by 77%, according to SEB chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi.

Johari said SEB is currently implementing the Sarawak Accelerated Rural Electrification masterplan to beef up efforts to achieve full electrification by 2025 to provide renewable and affordable energy to the entire population.

“Our target is for Sarawak to achieve high income status by 2030 with renewable energy as the driver and enabler.

“While the calls are getting louder for the world to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and non-renewable resources, Sarawak is pursuing a balanced and holistic energy development strategy to ensure energy security, sustainability and affordability..”

He said the state government is also implementing good sustainable management of its forests, adding that today 63% of the state land mass or 7.8 million hectares continue to be covered in forests.

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