Location : Kampung Parang, Padawan, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Light at the end of the tunnel
While we Sarawakians proudly boast & brag on being the biggest electricity producer in Malaysia if not in SEA, ironically most remote villages have remained in darkness like their ancestors have endured for generations. This ‘power pride’ is never shared by our brothers in the interior where even if there are generator sets, light comes on only at about 7pm and off before 9pm because it would be too costly to run them 24/7 despite subsidized diesel (but taken off recently). Transportation cost by river/road/jungle track is simply too costly and slow. The government with all guns blazing and marching into Vision 2020 (the year Malaysia hopes to declare itself a developed nation) cannot even lift a finger to light up the already miserable lives of these villagers claiming the issue being ‘economy of scale’ meaning if it is not PROFITABLE then it cannot be done! While most bewildered villages continue debating on this big economics jargon and lamenting on their deprivation of TV wrestling programs and cold beers, some villages and individuals have taken things into their own hands and created that light at the end of the tunnel.
One such village is Kampung Parang, blessed with an ever flowing River Sapit, in the Borneo Highland about 60 Km away from Kuching. Where solar panel failed miserably they turned to microhydro. Every villager since a year ago started regularly contributing RM5 to a pool until they managed to save RM30,000 to engage a Kelabit contractor to start working on this humble electrification project. Although the construction was a success the power output from the China made 10KW turbine was found to be below the required amount for the 60 households in Parang, a forgivable mathematical oversight.
Oh well, at least some can now proudly own a fan, a plasma set to watch WWF, a fridge to keep their Heinekens cold, student can study late into the night and mums can try out a recipe on kek lapis-one happy family.
We hope with the success of Parang, nearby villages like Sapit, Kakas, Kiding and Assum can follow suit.
Very good article to highlight the hardship of kampung folks.
we did submit the proposal to apply for the similar microhydro for Kiding Village sometime last year, still waiting for the outcome…
Anything FOC will come but slowly, maybe next general election!
Really learned a lot from this article…enjoyed the photos too. Let’s hope more remote rural kampungs follow Kpg Parang’s innovative lead….an instal their own power supply….
Capital cost is quite reasonable to serve 60 households…say RM 500 per household….they would pay that much in a few months for power from SESCO….”IF” they could get it – which appears a long way off in the future since the road to Kpgs Assom & Parang did not materialize due to Washout of the poorly constructed bridge….
For just RM500 they could hold their head high an say ‘We did it our way’. No need to ‘beg & wait’
The ship can sail around the asia pacific region with only 745kw main engine. The 4 auxiliaries engine will support and journey runs 24 hours continuously. And as a nett profit per journey is Rm600,000. A little 10 kw turbine can be replaced, just make an inquiry directly from Japan, lots, like fish selling at 10th mile, padawan.
Hi, would love to know more about this project. May i know what type of turbine are you using, whats the head and the water flow of the river??
Sorry Sean, we were not involved in its construction but we do know the turbine is China made as you can see from the video clip. Neither do we have the details of the flow rate or head. Are you into microhydro construction?