Unimas Embarks On Second Micro Hydro Project

by Conny Banji. Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Faculty of Engineering under its Micro Hydro Group is working on a micro hydro project to bring electricity to rural areas.

Rumah Balang Likong in Nanga Sengaih in Entabai, Julau is the second of such project by Unimas, project director Belayong Jampong said.

“It was following the implementation of our first project for a 25-door longhouse in Semulong Ulu in Sri Aman,” he said when contacted yesterday.

He said the project in Sri Aman, implemented in March last year was a success in that the longhouse residents now enjoyed 24-hour electricity supply.

Belayong is certified and accredited by Unimas as qualified personnel in designing and developing micro hydro system in the state.

He received training under the National Stimulus Package of Sarawak Corridor and Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Earlier in his e-mail, Belayong said he had attended a briefing on Jan 6 at the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (KKLW) in Putrajaya for the project in Entabai.

The briefing was also attended by David Sengalang of Konsortium Bumi Sdn Bhd, Rufino Rantai of Sarawak Energy Bhd, Associate Professor Dr Azaili Baharum and Dr Zuhairi Zen from Unimas.

Like in Semulong Ulu, the project for the 45-door longhouse in Entabai will be implemented through community based project, he said.

They will collaborate with Public Works Department and JH Corporation Sdn Bhd.

“The system is expected to generate 15 kilowatt on full implementation.

“This may not be sufficient to cover the whole longhouse power need but we will make it possible with the installation of ‘step up’ systems,” he said, adding that the project was environment-friendly.

It would be monitored by Unimas for two years while two to three trained longhouse residents would look after its maintenance and servicing.

He is optimistic the implementation of such project would be a great relief to the rural people.

“This could be the best answer to light up longhouses in rural areas as most of them depend very much on diesel-powered generator sets for electricity which was very costly,” he said.

He said a random survey done based on current petrol price, showed a family spent an average of RM150 per month on diesel alone.

“To the rural dwellers it can be a very big amount as they are only able to enjoy the current for only three to four hours a day.

“One lighted bulb is 100 times better than a kerosene lamp,” he said.

Belayong added the project in Entabai was fully endorsed by Deputy Minister for Information Communication and Culture and Julau MP Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum.

Extracted from The Borneo Post