World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Scientists Present Alternative to Sarawak’s Mega-Dams

BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL / SWITZERLAND
23 April 2014 – for immediate release

Scientists present alternative to Sarawak’s mega-dams

A new study by the University of Berkeley shows how Sarawak’s future lies with small-scale, local energy solutions rather than with risky and expensive large-scale hydropower. The scientists are presenting their findings tomorrow at the ASEAN Renewable Energy Week in Kuala Lumpur.

(BERKELEY, US) Scientists at Berkeley University have come up with an alternative to Sarawak’s power gigantism with its Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) project. Instead of building mega-dams, the government ought to focus on small-scale energy sources for increasing rural electrification and developing rural areas.

Extending rural energy access is key to poverty reduction in Sarawak. According to the new study entitled “Kampung Capacity”, small-scale energy solutions are more likely to translate into electricity access for the affected and nearby communities than large hydropower projects. The Bakun Dam shows that mega-dams mainly bring power to urban areas and feed large industries, while villages in the rural areas – even those next to the Bakun dam – remain without access to electricity.

The study analyses different energy scenarios based on small-scale energy solutions for three villages in the Baram area and finds "the least-cost options for energy services to come from a mixture of locally managed small-scale hydroelectricity, biogas generators and accompanying batteries instead of a claim of service provision based on large-scale regional electrification".

A whole range of tested “different renewable energy service scenarios are consistently 20 percent, or less, than the cost of diesel energy scenarios, without the social, economic, and environmental disruptions that would come with a large-scale hydropower plan for the river basin.“ Consequently, significant savings could result from using local and sustainable sources compared with today’s dependence on diesel generators in most rural villages.

The Berkeley report is the answer to the problems set out by researchers at Oxford University whose analysis of past dams has revealed that large dams are associated with enormous risks: on average, the actual costs of large dams have been 96 per cent higher than the estimate, and the implementation schedule has overshot by 44 percent. They concluded that large dams were uneconomical and advised countries at a lower level of economic development to implement smaller projects.

With their study, scientists Shirley and Kammen of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of Berkeley have now specified a possible design for such an energy strategy based on small-scale local energy solutions for Sarawak. The result is a viable alternative to “SCORE’s large scale, extraction-based development regime”. The two scientists have prepared the way for new paths of development in Sarawak. The researcher and author of the study, Rebekah Shirley, is presenting her findings tomorrow at the ASEAN Renewable Energy Week in Kuala Lumpur.

The Bruno Manser Fund asks the government of Sarawak to develop an alternative energy and development plan for Sarawak based on the findings of both the Berkeley and the Oxford studies. The time is ripe to acknowledge the advantages of small-scale energy solutions over large-scale dams. Development should be focused around the people and not indebt the state for generations to come.


Sources for this release:

Shirley, R. and Kammen, D., 2013, “Kampung Capacity: Local Solutions for Sustainable Rural Energy in the Baram River Basin, Sarawak, Malaysia”, University of California, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (REAL). https://rael.berkeley.edu/Kampung-Capacity

Ansar, A. et al., 2014, “Should we build more large dams? The actual costs of hydropower megaproject development”, in: Energy Policy, University of Oxford. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421513010926

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On How Obama’s Supreme Court Choice Says Everything (Bad) About His Presidency

Nothing has epitomised the presidency of Barack Obama quite like his Supreme Court nominees. Time and again, Republican presidents will blithely nominate right wing ideological extremists (Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas) who only sometimes misfire and turn out to be liberals in disguise (David Souter). Yet Obama has consistently skipped over the judicially qualified liberals and gone for a succession of centrists... More>>

ALSO:

Turkey: UN Secretary-General On The Terrorist Bombing In Ankara

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack in Ankara earlier today. According to the latest reports, the explosion in the Kizilay district killed and wounded dozens of people. More>>

ALSO:

Five Years On: Fukushima And New Zealand

Science Media Centre: It was the worst nuclear event since Chernobyl. In the wake of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a crippled Japanese nuclear powerplant went into meltdown, and the world watched as emergency workers scrambled to shut down and contain the reactors. More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF: 1 In 3 Syrian Children Has Grown Up Knowing Only Crisis

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes more than 151,000 children born as refugees since 2011. More>>

ALSO:

Franklin Lamb: Syria’s Truce Bodes Well For Salvaging Our Cultural Heritage

The tentative cessation of hostilities in Syria, which came into effect on 2/28/2016, brokered by Washington and Moscow, is only in its second week... It is well documented that there have been daily incidents of artillery shelling, airstrikes and clashes. Yet, for the nearly 12 million displaced civilians, half of Syria’s population, it’s a much welcomed respite. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Rubio’s Last Stand (And Sleater-Kinney)

Well, it certainly was entertaining to watch Rubio succeed in getting under Donald Trump’s skin the other day, in the last debate before tomorrow’s Super Tuesday multi-state sweepstakes... The real killer for Rubio was that the most recent poll from Florida which shows him losing his home state to Trump by a huge margin in the primary due on March 15. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news