SEB rises to the challenge

Sharbini (top, centre) speaking at the GO ESG virtual summit with other panellists.

KUCHING: State utility company Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) remains committed to sustainability and advancing hydropower in the face of challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic.

SEB group chief executive Datuk Sharbini Suhaili said the company’s main focus during the pandemic was “keeping the lights on” in Sarawak.

“Our fundamental ambition to grow regionally as a provider and developer of renewable energy has not changed, although our delivery mechanisms and methods have transformed due to the restrictions in movement, ” he said at the Go ESG (environmental, social and governance) Asean corporate sustainability virtual summit.

Sharbini, who spoke during a panel session on corporate leadership, said the pandemic also changed the way SEB conducted its business.

“It accelerated our aspiration to be a digital utility by 2025 as well as our transition to flexible work arrangements.

“We took steps to change the way we work and remain effective by learning to achieve more with the same level of resources.

“We leveraged on technology to improve the efficiency of our business operations while reducing the number of staff on site, ” he said.

He said the latter resulted in lower carbon emission at its headquarters by an average 40kg a day from the reduced commuting.

Sharbini also said the development of renewable and affordable hydropower in Sarawak supported diverse applications of alternative renewables like solar and hydrogen.

He said SEB was investing in Sarawak’s first large-scale floating solar plant at the Batang Ai hydroelectric power plant.

“Meanwhile, our research into hydrogen and collaboration with Petronas will enable us to participate in future hydrogen value chain activities and contribute to a sustainable energy future, decarbonise our energy system and augment what we are already doing via hydropower to provide clean, renewable and affordable energy for Sarawak.

“Our main grid carbon intensity has decreased by 76.5% since 2009 with the move into large hydropower generation, showing us the sustainability benefits gained from renewable hydropower over the past decade, ” he concluded.

On the summit’s first day, SEB and the United Nations Global Compact Network Malaysia and Brunei launched a toolkit for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to incorporate sustainability good practices in their operations.

The free toolkit included a step-by-step guide and resources for SMEs to steer them towards a more sustainable business model.

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