TAWAU: The first geothermal power plant in the country has received good response from villagers, environmentalists and opposition leaders whose main concerns are environmental impact and costs.
A dialogue session was conducted by Tawau Green Energy Sdn Bhd at Kampung Tass, Andrassy community hall here yesterday to tell the people of the benefits of the clean energy being proposed by the company at Apas Kiri area, Mount Andrassy Forest Reserve/Taman Bukit Tawau.
The project is located at the southern side of Maria Peak.
Sri Tanjung assemblyman Jimmy Wong who is also DAP Sabah chairman, said the proposed project is good as it is environment friendly, and congratulated the company for being the first in the country to bring in this technology.
Jimmy also asked about the risks involved and whether there is a guarantee that Tawau, especially those in Andrassy, will be given top priority to take up 500 job opportunities in the proposed project.
Project director Andrew Amaladoss assured Jimmy that the plant operation is very safe and that risks only arise if there is a breakdown at the plant and auxiliary equipment, including normal wear and tear.
Providing assurance, Andrew cited the first geothermal plant in Italy as an example, which is still running.
On job vacancies, he said priority would be given to residents of Tawau and those staying nearby. On the issue of salary, the company would take note of the higher cost of living in the state.
Meanwhile, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Supreme Council member Kenneth Goh hopes it is not a test pilot project.
He added that it must be ensured that the project is not a waste by the government again.
However, Kenneth said he is glad to see the proposed project being carried out in line with the national green energy policy.
To his question during the question-and-answer session, Kenneth was told that the plant will cost RM572 million.
The cost, in comparison with other plants, will show significant benefits in the long run and it is not an IPP (Independent Power Plant) but a small renewal energy power plant.
Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) president Wong Tack said he is happy to hear of the project even though six months ago Sabahans were told that there was no other alternative except for a coal-fired power plant.
He said Tawau should be proud because it is the first in the country and hoped the company will carry out the project with serious integrity.
Wong only expressed concern for the forest reserve being used as forest is very important to carbon credit.
So he called for some more dialogue sessions with the people and reports that are easier to be understood by ordinary people.
Wong was told that the stakeholders are all from Sabah, and according to the agreement and approval from the federal and state governments, the stake cannot be sold to others.
Source from: The Borneo Post
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