September 18, 2013
"We are shocked to hear that the federal government is still considering a coal plant as part of the energy mix for Sabah, this time in Tawau," Cynthia Ong, the head of Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), a local NGO that was apart of a larger coalition that opposed the plant the last time around, dubbed Green SURF.
Mahdzir Khalid, the Deputy Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, revealed that the coal plant was on the table again this week as the government works to fix power supply problems in the region. He further blamed NGO leaders for the state's "power supply problem."
However, during the fight over the coal plant Green SURF released an Energy Options Report for the state.
"We found that energy efficiency, biofuels, hydropower, and geothermal provide immediate advantages for the region over fossil fuels, and that in time both solar and ocean energy could provide even more energy than coal, while building jobs and a clean environment," the author of the report Daniel Kammen told mongabay.com in 2010. Kammen is the director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at the University of California Berkeley.
At the time, the Green SURF coalition warned that the coal plant could devastate coral reefs and fisheries, threaten rainforests with coal mining, contribute to climate change, spread toxic pollution, and undercut Sabah's image as a green tourist destination.
"If the Ministry is bent on proceeding with this project, it can expect another round of opposition, not just locally but regionally and internationally," Ong noted.
Aerial view of rainforest in Sabah. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
|AUTHOR: Jeremy Hance joined Mongabay full-time in 2009. He currently serves as senior writer and editor. He has also authored a book.|
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(10/31/2012) Last year, a coalition of environmentalists and locals won a David-versus-Goliath battle against a massive coal plant in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo. After facing a protracted campaign—including expert analysis of green energy options for Sabah—the state government announced it was scuttling plans to build the coal plant on a beach overlooking the Coral Triangle. Now, victorious grassroots campaigners are hosting the inaugural meeting of the Southeast Asia Renewable Energy People’s Assembly (SEAREPA), bringing 80 organizations together to discuss green energy options across southeast Asia.
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Malaysia preparing to take big step backward on energy policy
(08/13/2010) I write to you as a deeply concerned and saddened citizen of Malaysia. For most of the 45 years of my life, I have been proud to be Malaysian. Recently, I have become heartbroken to be Malaysian. I am profoundly grateful to write this with the support of both my local communities in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo and California, U.S.A., and a larger world community. That said, I take full ownership of and sole responsibility for the views articulated in this letter; I express them from my stand as a mother, an earth citizen and a leader.
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