Wednesday, 27 November 2013

TONIBUNG at the Heart of Borneo Conference

On 11th and 12th November TONIBUNG exhibited renewable energy (RE) technology at the International Conference on Heart of Borneo’s National Capital (Unleashing Their Potential for Sustainable Growth in Sabah), at the Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota Kinabalu.  Along with Green Empowerment, TONIBUNG addressed the conference on small-scale renewable energy and TONIBUNG's work in Sabah and Sarawak.

The conference was hosted by Sabah Forestry Department and supported by various organisations.  Speakers included international academics, representatives from Sabah Parks, Indonesian initiatives and local NGO workers and businessmen alike.

TONIBUNG and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) volunteers spent Sunday afternoon setting up the renewable energy exhibition, involving some last minute wiring for the hydro/solar hybrid unit, and assembling the wind turbine and solar hybrid stand. Posters explaining the technology and displaying photos of past projects were erected, together with a poster which introduced TONIBUNG's new training centre (Centre for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology - CREATE).

Banie showing the Sabah chief minister the hydro/solar demo unit
Fitting the wind/ solar hybrid unit; Sabah CM and Forestry Department Director receive a briefing

After an early arrival on Monday morning by TONIBUNG to beat the KK rush-hour traffic and to make final adjustments, the Sabah state chief minister arrived to open the conference.  There were an estimated 800 people in attendance. Following the welcome address, speeches and singing, the chief minister toured the exhibition hall. The RE exhibit may not have had the slick posters of the rest of the exhibition, but it was the most popular exhibit at the conference.

TONIBUNG representatives spoke to the conference on the projects that they had undertaken and how the successes of small-scale renewable energy could be extended.  A Sabah Electricity (SESB) representative sat on the same panel.  His speech was focussed on Sabah’s main sources of energy and the plan for more large-scale hydro.

In the exhibition hall, TONIBUNG and EWB representatives explained the hydro, solar and wind systems to conference delegates. The strongest interest was from other people operating in Sabah and Sarawak.  Some were interested in employing TONIBUNG’s expertise for their CSR projects, while forestry department representatives saw the potential of solar as a clean alternative for a temporary power source at forest camps.  There was interest in the new training programmes being run at CREATE. 

Many delegates were interested to learn about the technology from an impartial standpoint, or because they were considering some form of renewable energy for their homes.  Of course, cost was a recurring question.
By the end of the day, the TONIBUNG RE exhibit had all but run out of literature and business cards.

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