You are here


14 January 2020

Sarawak Energy has benefitted from a sustainability training programme which is helping the company achieve its vision to deliver reliable, renewable energy for the people of Sarawak, Malaysia.


 Pictured: IHA's Sustainability team with employees of Sarawak Energy

The state-owned energy development company and power utility is responsible for electricity generation, transmission and electricity generation, providing electricity to about three million Sarawakans in both urban and rural areas.

In the last ten years, Sarawak’s generation mix has reoriented towards renewable hydropower and away from thermal fossil fuels such as gas, coal and diesel. Its large hydropower plants include the 2,400 MW Bakun Hydroelectric Plant (HEP) and the 944 MW Murum HEP. Under development is the 1285 MW Baleh project as well as smaller hydropower projects such as the 10MW Kota 2 project.


Pictured: Mohammad Irwan Aman

“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,” says Mohammad Irwan Aman, the company’s Senior Manager (Sustainability).

The company is committed to implementing and operating its hydropower projects in accordance with international good practice, he says, in order to “minimise any negative impacts and maximise positive impacts”.

To build understanding among its staff on how to incorporate sustainability principles into current and future project developments, Sarawak Energy recently enlisted IHA to provide advanced training on using the internationally recognised Hydropower Sustainability Tools to assess the social, environmental, technical and governance performance of its portfolio of hydropower projects.

The series of training workshops held in Kuching, Sarawak, explored how the suite of tools – including the Hydropower Sustainable Assessment Protocol (HSAP), Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool (HESG) and Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice (HGIIP) - can be used to enhance company practices.

Irwan says the company engaged IHA because of its ability to deliver a tailored training package. This training was divided into two categories for certified users and official accredited assessors.

“The Certified User Training was attended by our new batch of internal assessors, along with other staff who are directly or indirectly involved in hydropower development and operation, to introduce them to sustainable hydropower,” he says.

‘Training was an eye opener’  


 Pictured: Iswandy Sureia 


One of the trainees was Iswandy Sureia, a senior civil engineer for the Kota 2 Mini Hydro Project, who participated in the three-day Certified User Training. Despite nearly a decade’s experience with hydropower projects, he says the training was of great benefit to him.

“My primary role is to coordinate and control all phases of project execution and administration, cost, schedule and qualities of deliveries and changes of scope,” he says. “Based on my past experience, huge challenges and hurdles have been encountered from local stakeholders as there were no proper tools or guidelines to refer to. I believe with the tools in place in the business system and processes, all the problems can be minimised or eliminated.”

Iswandy adds the training was an “eye opener” for those directly involved in hydropower development as the Hydropower Sustainability Tools cover all aspects of a project’s life cycle.

“The tools can guide the team and the business entity in developing the hydropower project in a sustainable manner,” he says. “The team can also assess their performance against international good practice, areas for improvement and subsequently the recommended action to be taken.”

The course included 20 participants and eight observers from Sarawak Energy’s senior management.

‘Engaging and easy to understand’ 


Pictured: Dayang Zanariah 

Dayang Zanariah, a civil engineer, was one of 11 participants on the Official Accredited Assessor Training, a more comprehensive course. She learned about the various ways in which the Hydropower Sustainability Tools can be applied, ranging from decision-making to capacity building.

“The training was really engaging and further reinforced my understanding, especially in the interpretation of the statements for each of the [sustainability] topics,” she says. “The training structure was developed in a way that was easy to understand.”

Since the training course was completed in July 2019, Irwan says his team has been able to identify new ways to improve and incorporate the recently gained knowledge and lessons learned into their day-to-day responsibilities.

“In-depth understanding on sustainable hydropower and its application enables Sarawak Energy to strengthen its efforts in embedding sustainable practice into the business system by introducing and implementing new processes,” he says.

Learn more about IHA’s Sustainability training programmes here.

Read a blog by Mohamad Irwan Aman and Darylynn Chung from Sarawak Energy

19 December 2019

Five global energy associations jointly urged governments to increase the take-up of renewable technologies at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain last week.


The representatives made the call at an official side-event held by the REN Alliance, a partnership of the International Hydropower Association, International Solar Energy Society, International Geothermal Association, World Bioenergy Association and World Wind Energy Association.

Mathis Rogner, Senior Analyst at the International Hydropower Association (IHA), represented the hydropower sector and was joined by José González, Senior Researcher at the International Solar Energy Society, Marit Brommer, Executive Director at International Geothermal Association and Remigijus Lapinskas, President of the World Bioenergy Association.

The panelists urged policy-makers to:

  • increase renewable energy penetration in the electricity grid
  • develop markets that reward power system flexibility
  • stop financing and subsidising fossil fuels
  • increase investments in renewable energy technologies.

Mr Rogner said that renewable technologies were prepared to meet global energy demand and decarbonisation goals, but the policy and regulatory frameworks need to catch up. “I would like to call on governments, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations and companies to come together and work upon this aspect, so renewable energy can play a greater part,” he said. It is clear that our power systems need a mix of services to ensure resilient systems, he added.

He said the hydropower sector was going to continue to grow, but its role is evolving to offering further and additional grid flexibility services to support and enable the greater integration of variable renewables, while also offering freshwater management services.

Dr Brommer agreed collaboration is key to ensure the necessary deployment of renewable energy technologies on the ground. “The geothermal sector is keen to continue to push the need for energy system transformation and is grateful for the outreach opportunities through strong and strategic partnerships provided by the REN Alliance at high-level events such as the COPs where our joint messages are amplified,” she said.

David Renne, President of the International Solar Energy Society, said that while it is unfortunate that more was not accomplished at the national and global level at COP25, the REN Alliance side-event confirms that much positive action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is taking place at local and regional levels.

“There is no question that the need for climate change mitigation is becoming more and more urgent, and that a major solution to this urgency is to increase the rate of deployment of clean renewable energy technologies that can meet all of our end use energy needs, including power, heat, and transport,” he said.

Laura Williamson, Outreach & Communications Manager at REN21, a think-tank focused on renewable energy policy, moderated the discussion.

Find out more about IHA’s work on clean energy systems.

13 December 2019

A new IHA guide will help hydropower developers and operators manage potential impacts arising from erosion and sedimentation in a river basin, allowing decision-makers to avoid business risks and act responsibly towards the environment and local communities.

The Hydropower Erosion and Sedimentation How-to Guide provides an overview of current knowledge and effective practices from across the sector in managing risks associated with erosion and sedimentation.


It covers potential impacts upstream and downstream of a hydropower project, sediment transport in rivers, erosion from the project site, civil and electromechanical structures, and climate change.

The guide presents methodologies and technologies related to scoping and siting, design and mitigation, and assessment and monitoring.  The guide in addition highlights how such measures can increase a project’s resilience to hydrological variability and support climate change adaptation.

IHA Sustainability Specialist, Alain Kilajian, said: “Effective erosion and sediment management is essential to sustainably develop and operate a hydropower project. This guide looks at good practices in the field and provides hydropower professionals with practical approaches to managing even the most challenging issues.”

Lead author and independent environmental and social consultant, Doug Smith, said: “Effective management of erosion and sedimentation is fundamental to hydropower’s role in a low carbon future. With its catalogue of methodologies and technologies, I hope the guide provides clarity on how to do this, where to begin, and where to find further advice and expertise.”

Download the Hydropower Erosion and Sedimentation How-to Guide

About IHA

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit membership organisation committed to sustainable hydropower. Our mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. We achieve this through sector monitoring, advancing strategies that strengthen performance, and building an open, innovative and trusted platform for knowledge.

Read about the Hydropower Sustainability Tools and Good Practice on Erosion and Sedimentation.

1 December 2019 

The inaugural Sustainability & Renewable Energy Forum (SAREF) 2019 will be held in Sarawak, Malaysia from 10-11 December 2019. 

SAREF, organised by Sarawak Energy in partnership with the Sarawak Ministry of Utilities, is a thought leadership campaign focusing on sustainability and the role of renewable energy in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Each subsequent conference will provide a platform for energy thought leaders to discuss sustainability and renewable energy topics in line with the SDG 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy.

The forum will bring together international organisations, experts from the energy sector, representatives from government, research communities, private sector and policy and decision makers.

International Hydropower Association’s Chief Executive, Eddie Rich will speak on how hydropower can drive and stabilise a wider renewable energy mix and broader sustainable development. “SAREF is a key opportunity for the energy community to come together to address the challenges of both ensuring sufficient energy and ensuring that it is affordable, sustainable and clean” he says. 

The forum will open with a speech by the honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, followed by a special address by Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.

Other prominent speakers will include the honourable Dato Sri Dr. Stephen Rundi Anak Utom, Minister of Utilities, Sarawak, Sharbini Suhaili, Chief Executive of Sarawak Energy, and Tammy Chu, Managing Director, Entura among several others.

The conference will be held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, Sarawak. To register, please visit


28 October 2019

A new IHA how-to guide for hydropower developers and operators aims to increase understanding of benefit sharing in project development and operation.

The How-to Guide on Hydropower Benefit Sharing will help decision-makers identify and deliver socio-economic benefits to communities, while assisting companies to avoid business risks and improve project viability.

João Costa, Senior Sustainability Specialist at IHA, said: “Hydropower projects are developed to provide electricity and other essential services such as water supply or flood control. But they do more than that.  Sustainable projects can provide important benefits for nearby communities, including economic infrastructure, electricity subsidies and local employment.

“This how-to guide will help industry professionals understand benefit sharing in hydropower and gain insights into the strategies and approaches towards achieving good international industry practice."

The publication provides an overview of current knowledge on benefit sharing across the hydropower sector, looking at beneficiaries and types of benefits, including those related to project siting and design, monetary and non-monetary, regulatory and voluntary, benefits, as well as governance and monitoring methodologies.

The guide aims to support developers and operators in meeting good practice, as defined by the internationally recognised Hydropower Sustainability Tools. It outlines a range of strategies to share benefits related to financial mechanisms, capacity-building, training and employment, procurement, social services, economic infrastructure, electrification and subsidies, and reservoir use.

Writing in the guide, lead author Joerg Hartmann concludes by recommending a partnership approach to benefit sharing. “Communities need to be empowered to take responsibility for their own development,” he said.

“A partnership approach depends on communities being treated as equals and with respect by projects and by government, and is a precondition for good community relations.”

Download the Hydropower Benefit Sharing How-to Guide for free from our IHA publications library:

About IHA

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit membership organisation committed to sustainable hydropower. Our mission is to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge on its role in renewable energy systems, responsible freshwater management and climate change solutions. We achieve this through sector monitoring, advancing strategies that strengthen performance, and building an open, innovative and trusted platform for knowledge.

Read about the Hydropower Sustainability Tools and Project Benefits.