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Archive for October 18th, 2011

Ever wonder why there are not many mini hydros in Sarawak’s interior?

 
 
A 10kW mini hydro installed in Penampang, Sabah 

If you have a chance to travel in Sarawak’s interior you will find this familiar landscape: long houses with no electricity supply located next to fast streams or even waterfalls. Why is not mini hyro more popular in such locations? These are the 4 major reasons I had come across why mini hydro, despite its merit and low costs, don’t quite make it big in rural Sarawak:

1. It is the government’s responsibility to provide basic amenities like electricity to the people; the society, the NGOs have no business to provide them on charitable basis; if this arguement stands then a lot more things that the people can help themselves will be left to the government, which means, left  never done; And the government utility that supply electricity SESCO, seems to take a long time to extend electricity supply to rural areas, citing the business consideration of slow returns in far flung, scattered areas; Yet they make a law that once the SESCO wires reach any village any local electricty generation would be considered illegal! Another point: if mini hydro is installed SESCO cannot charge the users for electricity!
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Penan block logging road near Ba Bunau, Sarawak

Penan block logging road near Ba Bunau, Sarawak13 October 2011: A four wheel drive stopped by the Penan at Ba Bunau, Middle Baram (Picture: BMF)

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