The Solution is Micro hydro power
Proposed solutions to these problems to provide electricity to remote communities in Sabahand Sarawak is amazingly coming from its own obstacle which is its hilly and mountainousterrain and high rainfall. These conditions are ideal criteria for a micro hydro system. Hydro power is the oldest form for technology to harness energy from natural resources since theinvention of the water wheel by humans. It uses simple but practical form of spinning wheelto harness power from water that is still in use today.A micro hydro power system harnesses the kinetic energy of fast flowing water using aturbine and converts it into mechanical power. The mechanical power then can be useddirectly to drive agro processingequipment such as rice mills or toturn a generator to produceelectricity.
Because of the size, thesystem is very cost effective andeasy to operate and maintain makingit ideal for electrification in remoteand isolated communities particularly in Sabah and Sarawak.In the advancement of the digitaltechnology, Micro hydro digital loadcontrol system has evolved Microhydro power into a system that isvery reliable and requires very lowmaintenance.
Fig 1: Typical setup of micro hydro system
A micro hydro system is environment friendly since it does not require any dams that willobstruct water flow and submerge vast areas because it is designed based on the availableflow of the river. It is carefully designed that not more than 60% of the water flow should beused to ensure that the river continues to flow and support aquatic life. A small diversion weir is all that is needed to divert water to an intake then to a penstock pipe that will run theturbine (
). This system does not conflict with the regulations of the Drainage andIrrigation Department (DID). As a solution, community-based Micro Hydro projectsemphasize the people’s participation in all aspects of project conceptualization, design, installation, andimplementation. These projects have the greatestlikelihood of long-term successful operation becausecommunity residents are invested in designing andmaintaining the systems. Since they have investedtheir time, energy, and resources into projectdevelopment, they have ownership over the projectand work to keep it successfully running over thelong term.
( Micro Hydro installation in Kg. Terian Penampang, commissioned in 2005)