A Review of Sarawak Off-Grid Renewable Energy Potential and Challenges
Keywords:Micro Hydropower, Photovoltaic Power, Renewable Energy, Voltage Stability,
AbstractSarawak is the largest state in Malaysia, in spite of this, the population of Sarawak is relatively small and 42 percent of that population residing in the rural areas. Consequently, the Sarawak government is facing immense challenges in providing basic need such as electricity to the entire state due to the remoteness and small sizes of these settlements. Although the state produces sufficient amount of power, the cost of connecting these rural and non-rural small settlements to the grid is just impractical. The current energy scenario in Sarawak will be reviewed with a focus on the two reliable renewable energy resources currently being pursued by the Local Electrical Authority (LEA) for rural electrification projects which are the Hydro Power and Solar Energy. The paper will address the technical and localized challenges facing the micro-hydro and solar electric energy generation in Sarawak. The micro hydropower potential in Sarawak is estimated at 10.2MW but is not being fully developed due to difficulty in distinctive design and implementation which requires full participation and support from the local community to make it more economically viable and functionality in long run. In addition, Sarawak also receives a daily solar irradiation of more than 5 KWh/m2 throughout the year and that means huge potential for it to thrive. But design and implementation must be done carefully due to the tropical climate and operating temperature of the components. Ultimately, both renewable energy systems require trained personnel to attend to and involvement of LEA or any appointed agency to provide assistance and coordination are necessary to ensure greater success in rural electrification projects.
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