Sabah draws 17-year plan to tackle power supply issue in the state

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Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor tests out a hydrogen-powered motorbike at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah exhibit after launching the Sabah Energy Roadmap and Master Plan 2040, Kota Kinabalu, September 19, 2023. — Bernama photo

KOTA KINABALU (Sept 19): Sabah today launched a 17-year plan that is meant to address the state’s chronic power woes while building a long-term action plan for the energy industry.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the Sabah Energy Roadmap and Master Plan 2040 (SE-RAMP 2040) outlines the state’s direction and initiatives as they move into taking over regulatory powers for Electricity Supply and Renewable Energy from the federal government in January next year.

“We know and realise that the power supply issue in Sabah has been plaguing the people for so long. The government is committed to addressing this legacy issue and making every effort to resolve it.

“Furthermore, with the Hala Tuju SMJ investor-friendly policy, basic infrastructure needs such as electricity and water supply remain a priority. This plan would certainly pave the way for us to ramp up electricity supply for industry needs,” he said.

Under the master plan, the Sabah Energy Council will be set up under the chairmanship of the chief minister to monitor, support and provide guidance on the implementation of the planned short, medium and long-term initiatives.

Among the objectives of the SE-RAMP 2040 is to ensure dependable power supply, with comprehensive coverage at an affordable price while ensuring environmental sustainability for the future of Sabah.

“It is also to complement the National Energy Policy launched last year, and the National Energy Transition Roadmap 2050 (NETR) launched in August this year,” he said.

The roadmap was formulated by the Energy Commission of Sabah (ECoS) which is mandated to carry out the action plan.

Hajiji said that with the action plan in place, he hopes the state can continue to attract more investors.

Among the foreign direct investors in the industry now are copper coil manufacturer SK Nexilis, solar glass manufacturer Kibing, Linaco coconut integrated processing mill and green steel project, Esteel.

Hajiji said setting up of ECoS through the Sabah Energy Commission Enactment 2023 and Gas Supply Enactment 2023 following the federal hand-over of gas regulatory power and the Energy Commission function in January of this year was momentous for Sabah without which the Masterplan would not have been mooted.

Hajiji reiterated that the state government would be taking over the regulatory authority on power supply and renewable energy from the federal Energy Commission and Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda), respectively, three months from now and, on January 3, 2024.

“By having total regulatory control of the energy sector in Sabah through ECoS, which has already been carrying out its duties as the on-shore gas supply regulator, would also regulate its electricity and renewable energy supply.

“This means the state government will be able to decide on matters involving enactment of laws, policy-making, electricity and renewable energy infrastructures in tandem with Sabah’s holistic development plan,” he said.

“Even though ECoS would only be taking full control next year, it has already moved ahead to prepare the Masterplan for Sabah’s gas, electricity and renewable energy for the next 17 years,” he said.

Meanwhile, ECoS Chief Executive Officer Datuk Ir Abdul Nasser Abdul Wahid said among the targets of the roadmap was to have a 100-minute System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) by 2030, which is now about 300. The SAIDI in Kuala Lumpur is less than 50. — Malay Mail