PENAMPANG: Though their village remains inaccessible by road, 400 villages of Kampung Buayan on the Crocker Range here are enjoying round-the-clock power supply.
The electricity is not only free but is produced in a pollution-free way by harnessing the power of a nearby river.
Versatile: The power house incorporating the mini-hydro system.
This mini-hydro system was launched by Penampang MP and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, on Monday.
Having power supply means so many things to so many people here. Schoolgoing children are now able to study at night and use a computer at home,” said Robert Gubal, 33, headmaster of the village’s only primary school which has 53 pupils.
Kampung Buayan chief John Sabating, 45, said the system was capable of generating up to 10 kilowatts of electricity. The villagers no longer needed to rely on kerosene lamps and small generators that used expensive petrol, he said.
“The system also means there is no longer a need to carry fuel from Donggongon town, which required a three-hour walk and a hour’s ride on a four wheel drive,” he added.
Village technology: Dompok (right) being briefed about the system by Pacos Trust member Adrian Lasimbang (left).
The villagers built the system with help from Raleigh International volunteers and technical support from local NGOs namely Partners in Community Organisation, Tonibung and Jaringan Orang Asal seMalaysia.
Danish International Development Agency (Danida) contributed RM250,000 for the system that cost RM450,000. Another RM100,000 was contributed by Dompok and Moyog state assemblyman Donald Mojuntin.
Pacos Trust president Dr Felix Tongkul said the Kampung Buayan mini-hydro system was the fifth to be supported by Pacos, with the earlier ones being built in Long Lawen, Belaga and Bario Asal in Sarawak and Kampung Terian and Kampung Bantul in Sabah.
The system produces electricity via a small turbine with an electronic load controller for stability and safety.
The project included enrichment planting and mapping to ensure sustainability of the water resource that ran the system. Dr Felix said the system incorporated a rice mill and an irrigation system as well.
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Minihydro power for fourth remote village
Posted on October 19, 2011, WednesdayPENSIANGAN: Kampung Saliman has become the latest remote village in the district to be lit up by renewable energy from a microhydro facility.
The 3KW facility that was launched last week provides power supply to about 25 homes in the riverine village of more than 200 people.
The village is the fourth along the Pensiangan River to enjoy power supply from microhydro systems, the others being Kampung Bantul, Lumpagas and Inaakak.
The life-changing development is a result of collaboration between non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the corporate sector and rural communities.
The RM89,000 project was funded by CIMB Bank, through CIMB Foundation, that channels grants to projects under its Community Link initiative.
The project, which took ten months to complete, was carried out on a ‘gotong royong’ basis by community members with technical support from indigenous people’s NGOs, namely Tonibung, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia and Pacos Trust.
Nabawan assemblyman Datuk Bobbey Suan acknowledged the fruitful collaboration which he described as a “classic case of a good relationship between NGOs and the corporate sector”.
He urged the government to give its fair share of support.
“The government has to work with NGOs to bring sustainable development in the rural areas because NGOs have the technical expertise and the right people to implement a project successfully,” he said.
“This project is a classic case of a good relationship between NGOs and the corporate sector,” he said when officiating at the launch of the system last Friday.
Also present were CIMB Bank representatives, Pensiangan assistant district officer and project coordinator Adrian Lasimbang.
Bobbey, who is also the Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry, believes that one of the immediate beneficiaries of the project are children who can now enjoy a home environment that is more conducive to do revisions with better lighting and without the irritating loud noise of diesel-powered generator sets.
Meanwhile, Adrian said the renewable energy has relieved villagers of a heavy financial burden.
He said they had been relying on generator sets that cost them RM200-RM300 monthly, which is burdensome for a community of traditional fishermen and farmers.
“Now, instead of having to spend such amount on fuel, they can generate some extra income. Renewable power allows them to keep their fish and game fresh. And with freshness they can fetch a higher price when they sell it at the local market,” he said.
Adrian, whose community-based microhydro projects have won several awards, including the Asean Energy Award a few years ago, stressed that the benefits extend beyond the confines of people’s immediate needs.
He said the project also contributes to environmental conservation as watersheds are a key component of a working microhydro system.
“The bigger picture is that they will now take care of the forest that gives them not only food but also energy. What they do at the community level contributes to addressing climate change issues.”
Adrian hopes that with the latest success of microhydro installation in the rural community, he could replicate similar projects in areas still too remote from the grid.
But he says he needs all the support he can get both from the corporate sector and government.
To date, only about 30 per cent of areas in Pensiangan district is connected to the grid.