SARES power project changing lives in rural Sarawak

KUCHING: The Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES) has created a big difference in the lives of the remote communities in the state ever since it was launched in June 2016, state power company, Sarawak Energy said.

It said SARES which utilised renewable sources like solar and micro-hydro in Sarawak’s interior was one of the initiatives under the Sarawak Rural Electrification Master Plan that had successfully expanded electricity supply to about 93 percent of the state’s population as of last year.

“This integrated initiative of the State government, supported by Sarawak Energy, aims to provide 24-hour electricity supply through advancements in alternative energy technology to remote communities where it is very difficult and will take a significant amount of time to connect to the main electricity grid,” it said in a statement.

The latest success of SARES was its implementation at four longhouses in Sebauh, an interior district in Bintulu Division where a handing over ceremony of the system was performed by the State Minister of Utilities, Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom recently.

Speaking at the ceremony, he said SARES came as a gift from the state government to the rural folks who don’t have the same access to utilities like those in the urban areas, and under this system, each household is provided with 3000 watt-hour (Wh) of renewable electricity daily, suffice to power basic lightings and home appliances.

Dr Rundi said under the State Rural Electrification Master Plan, the Sarawak Government allocated RM2.37 billion for the 2019-2020 period to accelerate the implementation of the rural electrification project in line with the target of achieving full electricity coverage in the state by 2025.

For the Bintulu Division, he said SARES has connected 17 villages in Sebauh and 18 villages in Tatau, lighting up 607 households of about 3,300 residents.

He said another 21 projects are currently ongoing in the neighbouring Tatau District and due for completion by early next year, adding that by 2020, it is anticipated that SARES will have benefited 5,100 residents in Bintulu Division with 24-hour reliable and renewable electricity supply.