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USTDA Grant Supports Sarawak Energy’s Digital Transformation

Date Published
January 23, 2023

Sarawak Energy plans to shift to a smart grid and digital technologies in order to supply more clean energy to the state and the region through the Borneo Grid. Photo credit: Asian Development Bank.

Malaysia’s Sarawak Energy Berhad received a $1 million grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for technical assistance to facilitate the utility’s digital transformation. This will advance the integration of more renewable energy onto Sarawak’s power grid and help provide reliable clean energy for 2.5 million people, while also powering neighboring countries through the Borneo Grid.

The grant agreement was signed at the 5th Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Tokyo, Japan this month.

Under this partnership, USTDA will assess the status of Sarawak Energy’s digital landscape and support its strategic roadmap to enable the adoption of smart grid and digital power plant technologies, enhance efficiency, increase cyber security as well as meet growing connectivity commitment and service reliability requirements to drive sustainable economic growth in Malaysia.

Sarawak Energy selected non-profit energy research and development institute Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to carry out a technical study to enhance its digital transformation strategic roadmap. The utility aims to become a sustainable digital utility by 2025 and has ambitions of becoming a regional powerhouse.

In 2021, Sarawak Energy’s subsidiary SESCO and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd signed the Sabah–Sarawak Power Interconnection Power Exchange Agreement, which paves the way for establishing the Borneo Grid and the ASEAN Power Grid.

“Digitalized management of our utility will further enable Sarawak Energy’s already robust renewable energy resources and forward-thinking approach to adopt technology and rapidly modernize our grid and power plants through advanced integrated digital solutions,” said Datu Sharbini Bin Suhaili, Group CEO of Sarawak Energy, in a news release.

“Around the world, we have seen the transformative impact of digital infrastructure on achieving ambitious clean energy, energy efficiency, and other climate-related goals,” USTDA Director Enoh T. Ebong. “Our partnership with Sarawak Energy is intended to support their vision of sustainable growth by meeting the region’s need for reliable, renewable energy. At the same time, we see opportunities to mobilize US technical innovation in support of their goals.”