On January 12, 2023, the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) provided a power grant to Malaysia. Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), Malaysia’s state-owned energy company, received this grant to assist with the “utility’s digital transformation.” This grant will further the use of more renewable energy and aid in giving sound clean energy to about 2.5 million people, including those in neighboring countries who are also on the Borneo Grid.
“Around the world, we have seen the transformative impact of digital infrastructure on achieving ambitious clean energy, energy efficiency, and other climate-related goals. Our partnership with Sarawak Energy is intended to support their vision of sustainable growth by meeting the region’s need for reliable, renewable energy,” said Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Director.
Diving into the Grant
The total contribution of the grant comes in at $1 million USD and will continue SEB’s, “aim of becoming a sustainable digital utility by 2025 and beyond.” The agreement of the grant came into effect during the fifth Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Tokyo, Japan.
During the duration of the grant, USTDA will evaluate SEB’s current digital landscape and “support the company’s 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.”
SEB chose the nonprofit group Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to oversee the technical study of the project and provide assistance throughout the project. “SEB expresses gratitude to USTDA for this new partnership and welcomes EPRI’s technical support,” said Datu Sharbini Bin Suhaili, Group CEO of Sarawak Energy Berhad.
USTDA’s championing of the project will further the goals of both the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment. “The Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment will deliver game-changing projects to close the infrastructure gap in developing countries, strengthen the global economy and supply chains, and advance U.S. national security.”
A Brief History of EPRI
Founded in 1972 in California, EPRI operates as a not-for-profit-independent energy research company. EPRI has a presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The company collaborates with more than 450 companies spanning 45 countries by “driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe.”
With regard to the USTDA providing the power grant to Malaysia, EPRI President and CEO Arshad Mansoor had this to say, “EPRI is pleased to assist Sarawak in the modernizing of its grid, as this fits with our society-based mission to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe.”
With the USTDA providing this power grant to Malaysia, it will not only benefit Malaysia’s renewable energy goal but it will also provide energy to millions across multiple countries who are in poverty. The goals of the grant as well as the goals of the USTDA’s other projects will see that those underserved and in need of basic needs receive proper care.
– Sean McMullen