Shifts in the energy landscape necessitate urgent and focussed actions, by positioning the country towards future energy sustainability and resilience as well as furthering exploration in lower carbon alternative energy. 

This was said by the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Pg Hj Jamra Weira Pg Hj Petra during his keynote presentation at the Renewable Energy Policy and Development Forum which was held recently at the International Convention Centre in Berakas. 

Image courtesy of Ministry of Energy

The senior official began his presentation by outlining the Ministry of Energy’s (ME) Five-Year Strategic Plan, 2020 to 2025, which is aimed at serving the sultanate’s energy needs in the present landscape, with the growing industrial growth and those in the evolving global energy transition. 

“In other words, it plans for the future, but meets the needs of today,” he said. 

“As we all know, the energy sector faces profound transition driven by rapid technology innovation, digitalisation, deployment and integration of renewable or low-carbon energy,” he continued. 

Image courtesy of Ministry of Energy

Considering how the nation’s energy sector accounted for 58 per cent or BND$10.5 billion of the country’s GDP in 2019, the sultanate cannot escape from being affected by this global energy transition, and as such, this shift would warrant “urgent and focussed actions”. 

“The growing market volatility in the face of prolonged economic shocks, from geopolitical developments, and the COVID-19 pandemic have placed significant pressure on the oil and gas market, and our national revenue,” he explained. 

“It is a stark reminder of the importance of preparedness, adaptibility and concerted effort against uncertainties,” he added. 

Image courtesy of Ministry of Energy

Touching on the ministry’s objective on Green Energy, he said that the ministry is continuously looking into ways to diversify the country’s energy mix, with Brunei being part of the global movement in the field of hydrogen energy. 

“As part of the global energy transition, and meeting our own energy security needs, abundant solar energy must be harnessed to supplement the use of our natural hydrocarbon resources,” he said. 

According to the senior official, last year Brunei had 1.6 MW Solar energy in our power generation mix. The country’s current solar capacity however stands at almost 5 MW which consists of multiple solar projects across the sultanate including off-grid solar systems for eight loinghouses in the rural areas of Belait and Tutong. 

Image courtesy of Ministry of Energy

“We aspire to achieve at least 10 per cent renewable energy contribution in our power generation mix within the next five years,” continued Pg Hj Jamra Weira who then proceeded to outline the efforts the ministry will embark on to achieve 100 MW of solar power. 

“In addition, we are stepping up our efforts to understand better, on a larger scale integration of renewables and alternative energies into our power system, deployment of utility scale Energy Storage system, as well as other promising technologies, such as Floating Solar, Offshore Wind and Hydrogen Energy,” he went on to say. 

Image courtesy of Ministry of Energy

He said that current research has indicated significant potential for floating solar in Brunei Darussalam, however he believed that more research need to be done before they can establish the feasibility of scaling up energy resources from floating solar in our country. 

“Moving forward, we aspire to achieve at least 30 per cent renewable energy contribution in our power generation mix by 2035,” he added. 

Co-organized by ME and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), the Renewable Energy Policy and Development Forum was held in conjunction with the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition 2021 (Brunei MYCE 2021) as part of the Energy Theme Week. 

Present as the Guest of Honour was Dato Seri Paduka Hj Matsatejo Sokiaw, the Deputy Minister of Energy.

This article was first published on 3 July 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 148

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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