KOTA KINABALU: Sabah environmental groups are concerned over reports that a scrapped proposed coal-fired power plant project in the state’s east coast is being re-looked at.
The groups including Green Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future (SURF) want the government to stick to its decision to abandon plans for a coal-fired plant in the state. Green SURF includes various NGOs such as Partners in Community Organisations (PACOS).
According to PACOS executive director Anne Lasimbang, authorities should instead push ahead with a 300mW gas-fired power plant in Lahad Datu.
Lasimbang said a statement by Deputy Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Mahdzir Khalid last month that authorities were considering at reintroducing the coal-fired plant project to boost electricity supply in Sabah was worrying.
Lasimbang said the Federal Government made a commitment in safeguarding Sabah’s environment and health of the people when it cancelled the coal-fired power plant project in Feb 2011.
She said authorities should instead focus on tapping the widely available renewable energy options such as biomass and biogas.
Lasimbang said this was recently reaffirmed by Natural Resource Deputy Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit who said that utility firm Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) could consider biogas to generate power.
Dawos had said that there was a huge opportunity for the production of biogas in Sabah due to the presence of palm oil mills.
Lasimbang said Green SURF was seeking a meeting with Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili on the government’s seriousness at reviving the scrapped coal plant project.
She added that countries are moving away from dirty fuel, and that it was a waste of time to discuss about a coal plant for Sabah again.