KOTA KINABALU: Qhazanah Sabah Bhd (QSB) is moving towards establishing a presence in the state’s fledgling renewable energy sector through a variety of proposed sustainable power generation initiatives.
The Sabah government’s strategic investment arm is laying the groundwork for several mini hydro as well as solar power and biomass power generation projects.
Senior General Manager of QSB subsidiary, WHSB Ventures Sdn Bhd Jeremy Ronald E. Kimsin said the company was keen to tap into Sabah’s potential for sustainable power generation.
“It is well known that Sabah has much potential for sustainable energy that has yet to be utilised. Many people are aware that Sabah has a viable geothermal and wind energy generating potential besides solar, hydro and biomass power,” he said.
Jeremy said the biomass-based power generation projects could take advantage of the waste from Sabah’s agriculture sector such as oil palm.
“We are open to developing power generation projects that are environmentally sustainable in the long run,” he said in adding that QSB was in talks with potential investors with strong financial background and experience to develop the power generating projects.
Jeremy said the fast-flowing rivers along some of Sabah’s west coast and interior districts have been identified as being suitable for small scale hydro generation projects.
“We have identified certain rivers in Ranau, Kota Belud, Beaufort, Tenom and Keningau for small scale projects with a capacity of below 30MW each,” he added.
Noting that its proposed renewable power projects were located in rural areas, Jeremy said it was QSB’s practice to ensure that local communities have their say and stand to benefit from the project.
“After we have identified the site and before we go any further, we will engage with the communities to get their feedback about the proposed project,” he explained.
“We will try as much as possible to incorporate their concerns and feedback into the design and planning of the power plants so as to minimise any potential impact on their livelihoods and socio-economic activities,” Jeremy added.
He said local communities do stand to benefit from the construction of mini hydro or any other renewable power generation plants near their settlements.
“These are likely to be remote areas and would be more accessible with the construction of access roads leading to these plants,” Jeremy said.
“These roads will help local communities to open their lands for agricultural activities. In addition, the improved access will spur eco-tourism activities thus enhancing incomes of the communities there and providing more job opportunities as well,” he added.
He said QSB would also carry out Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes such as health checks as well as sponsor cultural and religious events at villages close to the proposed sites of the plants.
“We want the communities to feel that they have say in what is being done and there are tangible benefits for them,” Jeremy added.
In another development, he said QSB also looking at establishing a facility for the disposal of industrial waste noting the absence of such plant in Sabah.
“All this while, the waste from industries is collected and shipped to the only two licensed waste management centres in Malaysia in Negeri Sembilan and Sarawak,” Jeremy said.
“The shipping of this waste poses an environmental risk and safety. We are keen to develop Sabah’s own waste management centre and we are looking into a few proposals by various parties,” he added.