Sarawak Energy has trained a growing number of its employees to implement and operate hydropower projects in accordance with internationally recognised sustainability guidelines, write Mohamad Irwan Aman and Darylynn Chung.
Pictured: IHA's Sustainability team with employees of Sarawak Energy
Shifting the generation mix toward renewable energy has provided Sarawak with access to clean, reliable and affordable energy. Hydropower generation has an important role that provides a foundation for Sarawak’s development by providing reliable, renewable and affordable energy, while meeting environmental and economic needs.
Sarawak Energy is committed to managing its business to minimise any negative impacts and maximise positive impacts of what it does by leveraging the risks and opportunities associated with hydropower development and operation.
As a sustainability partner to IHA, Sarawak Energy is committed to implement and operate its hydropower projects in accordance with the requirements and guidelines set out in the Hydropower Sustainability Tools.
This is demonstrated by its pool of trained in-house users and accredited assessors, enabling the company to incorporate sustainability requirements in policy development, performance assessment, sustainable process development and capacity development.
Sarawak Energy established an internal Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Team in 2014. Each member of the team is trained to assess our performance in developing hydropower projects against international best practice as guided by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP).
Overall, 34 internal assessors have been trained to be certified users of the tools. Twelve have recently been recognised as Provisionally Accredited Assessors by IHA.
With the team established, two internal assessments have been conducted to assess the sustainability performance of our hydropower projects at the preparation stage. Held to identify gaps and areas for improvements in hydropower project development against international best practices, the assessments have helped in embedding international good practices into our business system, as well as build sustainability capacity in the target employees.
Additionally, Sarawak Energy also established a task force from the pool of trained assessors to review the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study for an upcoming hydropower project. This task force ensures that the scope of the ESIA study is aligned with the Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice. This aims to strengthen the ESIA study to go beyond meeting local legal requirements by also meeting international financing institutes’ requirements.
Recognising the comprehensiveness of the Hydropower Sustainability Tools, Sarawak Energy sees the many potential applications of the tools to improve its business processes by integrating and embedding sustainability requirements into the Sarawak Energy Project Model (SPM).
This enhances the project model’s ability to embed sustainability practices from the beginning of any project, including transmission and other thermal projects where applicable. In addition, Sarawak Energy is initiating the integration of the HSAP into ISO 14001 Environmental Management System for hydropower projects at the operation stage.
Mohamad Irwan Aman is the Senior Manager for Sustainability and Darylynn Chung is the Senior Executive for Sustainability.
Find out more about Sarawak Energy here.