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Sustainable hydropower takes centre stage in South East Asia’s energy transition

Sustainable hydropower takes centre stage in South East Asia’s energy transition

20 December 2019

Hydropower’s role in delivering affordable and sustainable energy, industrial growth and job creation came under focus at the recent Sustainability and Renewable Energy Forum (SAREF 2019) in Sarawak, Malaysia.


The inaugural forum organised by Sarawak Energy in Kuching spotlighted how hydropower is a solution to meet growing demands for renewable energy while also reducing carbon emissions in one of the world’s fastest growing and fastest developing regions.

Eddie Rich, CEO of IHA, was among the international line-up of speakers. He said that hydropower is the major renewable energy source in Asia as well as driving more use of other renewable sources such as solar and wind. “Hydropower will play a major role in the transition to renewable energy, as no country has successfully transitioned to renewable energy without a significant hydropower component,” he said.

Sharbini Suhaili, Chief Executive of Sarawak Energy and IHA Board member, said the forum aimed to encourage greater policy support for decarbonisation initiatives while recognising renewable hydropower’s contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“SAREF 2019 has shown that there is no one path to a sustainable energy future and a confluence of objectives through partnerships with diverse stakeholders is required,” Mr Suhaili said.

The two-day forum brought more than 1,000 delegates from international organisations, experts from the energy sector, representatives from government, research communities, private sector and policy and decision makers together.

Prominent speakers included Abang Abdul Rahman Johari Abang Openg, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, who opened the event, followed by UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh, who gave a special address.  Tammy Chu, IHA Vice President and Managing Director at Entura, also spoke at the event.