Miri – 11 July 2014 – 13 students of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), School of Engineering and Science of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently travelled to Bario to learn more about renewable energy projects implemented there. They were accompanied by senior lecturer from the ECE Department, Dr. Garenth Lim King Hann.
Co-organised by the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch of Curtin Sarawak, the main aim of the trip was to study and analyse existing renewable energy sources in Bario, including wind, hydro and solar energy projects funded by the government.
The study trip received generous financial support from Ba’kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian. In an interview with the students, he shared his vision of building better roads connecting Bario, Ba’kelalan and Lawas, as well as further developing tourism, telecommunication and power generation in the village.
Upon their arrival, the students were welcomed by the locals and provided accommodation at the Bario Asal Homestay. While in Bario, they visited the local hospital which is installed with a hybrid energy system combining solar energy and diesel power; the eBario Tele-centre at Padang Pasir; solar farm at Arur Dalan which has a capacity of 60kW and where they helped disassemble a wind turbine; as well as the Bario Dam at Bario Asal which has a capacity of 100kW. The group also held talks and sharing sessions with the villagers to promote the long-term benefits of such projects.
According to IEEE Student Branch president and final-year electronic and communication engineering student Saaveethya Sivakumar, the study trip was an excellent opportunity for the students to observe first-hand the various projects established in Bario.
“We believe the study and analyses we conducted will lead to enhancements to the current projects to meet the energy needs of the Bario people. We would like to thank YB Baru Bian and the ECE Department for the opportunity, and for their support and guidance,” said Saaveethya.
Meanwhile, second-year electrical power engineering student Esther Kueh commented that the trip was a real eye-opener as it made her more aware of the potential of renewable energy projects in providing electricity to rural communities. She added that it further stirred her interest in rural electrification, particularly in her home state of Sarawak.
For more information on the IEEE Student Branch of Curtin Sarawak, email [email protected] or log on to its website at ewh.ieee.org/sb/malaysia/curtinsarawak. One can also visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CurtinSarawak.IEEE.
For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my, its Facebook page at facebook.com/CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia, Twitter profile at twitter.com/curtinsarawak, YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/CurtinUniSarawak, or Instagram at instagram.com/curtinsarawak.