The Sabah Renewable Energy Rural Electrification Roadmap (SabahRE2) navigates towards a future of energy equity, right livelihoods, and wellbeing for rural Sabahans. As home to 72% of un-electrified rural Malaysians, Sabah has an opening to pivot towards renewables as a viable solution for energy access for communities distant from the state grid who can pioneer a low carbon future with quality of life.
SabahRE2 comprises a consortium of four closely collaborating organisations: TONIBUNG, PACOS Trust, Forever Sabah and Green Empowerment. We launched in August 2021 with the award of a grant from Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK PACT) from the British Government.
SabahRE2 is working closely with key government stakeholders, namely Sabah’s Economic Planning Unit, the Ministry of Rural Development (Sabah), Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd and the Institute for Development Studies, Sabah. Simultaneously, we are building relationships with a range of Malaysian and international funders, and intend to convene, in July 2022, the key private and public renewable energy and electrification players in the state.
Our first year has focused upon co-creating a Roadmap that lays out the terrain and the strategy for rural electrification with renewable energy, making all the key data publicly available through this website. Our goal is to make possible 200 renewable energy mini-grids across rural Sabah by 2030.
Starting with building a Demand Map of all unmet electricity demand within rural Sabah, currently at around 400 villages, we then identified 206 villages that met our criteria with readiness, and hearing the aspirations of these communities, we have undertaken Feasibility Studies for 35 mini-grids serving 57 villages in a suite of bio-cultural locations. Using the experience of building over 30 mini-grid systems in Malaysian Borneo, our Consortium will design renewable energy options for these communities deploying mini-grid toolkits to compute the most cost-effective ways to connect supply and demand. Appropriate training through co-learning experiences and technology transfer from regional allies is supporting the building of skills amongst stakeholders.
We propose to use a self-regulatory and health and safety assurance approach to mini-grid policy development so as to encourage innovation and expansion towards a renewable energy transition. Simultaneously, within the financing landscape, we will collaboratively craft a blended financing approach with both local and international public, private and philanthropic funders interested in Sabah’s journey as a global story of responding with ambition to climate change.
This interactive website will transparently display the data and plans arising through this process while a web of communication creates a portal through which societal understanding and awareness of the issues and the roadmap process can grow. Our intention is to share knowledge and build a critical mass of support for - and trust in - the roadmap, so as to advance its implementation with the government and the wider public.
We hope this roadmap can play a significant role in Sabah meeting the imperative of decisively shifting its trajectory towards energy equity, sustainable development, a low-carbon economy and greater climate resilience.