KOTA KINABALU: Sabah's northernmost town, Kudat, is undergoing development to transform it into the state's centre for renewable energy (RE).
According to Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Kudat’s sunny climate makes it an ideal location for solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation.
"To date, some 58 megawatts of solar PV plants have been approved (for construction in Kudat) by (my) Ministry and the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda).
"About 2 megawatts will be channelled to the local Kudat grid, while the bulk will be injected into the transmission line for distribution across the whole of Sabah.
"About 50 megawatts are entirely funded by the private sector, and will create job opportunities for locals in terms of technical and management (positions)," he said in a statement.
The federal government will also look into harnessing wind energy in both Kudat and Kota Marudu, where studies by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and power agencies from China and Thailand have determined that up to 300 megawatts of wind energy can be generated.
There are also plans to set up a research centre for renewable wind and solar PV energy in Kudat, which would see a collaboration between local universities and Asean energy institutes.
Ongkili said that these efforts are part of the government's plan to reduce diesel subsidies in the country and diminish greenhouse gas emissions.
"Currently, between RM450 million and RM600 million are spent annually by the federal treasury for diesel subsidy, which is both wasteful and inefficient.
"The federal Cabinet is considering reducing that amount by half in the next three years by replacing diesel generation with RE sources.
"At the same time, Malaysia will also be lowering its carbon footprint, in keeping with its commitment to the Paris Agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions," said Ongkili.
The solar PV plants are being jointly-developed by Tadau Energy Sdn Bhd and Edra Global Energy Bhd (Edra), with about 8 megawatts reserved for the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme.