DEVELOPMENT OF A MICRO HYDRO TO GENERATE ELECTRICAL POWER AT TAPANG PUNGGA LONGHOUSE IN SARAWAK
Most longhouses in the rural areas of Sarawak have a disadvantage of being far from electrical power grid and water distribution grid. The distribution of power and water is not economical due to the distance from the main grid and the small population living in these areas. One of these longhouses is the Tapang Pungga Longhouse. It is located at Batang Ai, Lubok Antu, Sri Aman, Sarawak. The word "Batang" in Iban means main river and "Ai" means water hence "Batang Ai" means Water River. It takes 3 ½ hours by land transport from Kuching and then another hour by river using a 15 horse power outboard engine to get there. The longhouse people use generator sets that are powered by diesel which cost about RM10 to RM20 per night. Other than fuel cost, they also have to pay for the maintenance. However, most longhouses in rural of Sarawak have advantage of having small and high elevation rivers nearby. With such advantages, micro hydro could be an appropriate technology to be used to bring renewable energy to the longhouses.
This proposed micro hydro project at Tapang Pungga Longhouse has objectives to provide electrical power to the longhouse people. Other than that, the objectives are to produce evidence that typical longhouses in Sarawak can be beneficial from small renewable energy of micro hydro, to reduce pollution from fuel consumption, to give awareness of using green energy among rural people, and to increase night activities especially educational activity.
A feasibility study was done through a SGP Planning grant from May to end of July 2011 which included dialogues with the longhouse people and their participation in the project, project site feasibility survey, the measurement of distances, elevation heads and flow rates. This project is to continue with the implementation stage. The expected activities during this stage include capacity building, order and transportation of materials, construction of weirs and powerhouses, installation of HDPE penstock and turbine generator, electrical wiring, and commissioning. For the post project stage, the community will be engaged in managing energy supply, managing loads, system maintenance, cleaning the weir, cleaning the intake pipe, monitoring erosion and replacing bearings. The local community will be engaged in all activities in all three stages.
The expected outputs of the projects include electrical power of about 8.3 KW, evidence that typical longhouses in Sarawak can be beneficial from renewable and low-cost energy of micro hydro, relying less on fossil fuel and generator sets, resulting in reduction of pollution from fuel consumption and promoting the use of renewable energy. Conservation of the watershed would also be a crucial part of the project and training will be provided to the local community to manage and conserve this natural reservoir. Mapping and reforestation of the area will be done by the local community to prevent soil erosion and to demarcate the watershed perimeters. They will also be responsible for monitoring to ensure sustainability of the micro-hydro system.
These outputs of the project will be beneficial to the direct target group, people of Tapang Pungga Longhouse, and indirect target groups, families from all longhouses in Sarawak that have similar advantages of having small and high rivers nearby.
 

Project Snapshot

Grantee: Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association
Country: Malaysia
Area Of Work: Climate Change Mitigation
Operational Phase: Phase 5
Grant Amount: US$ 47,567.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind: US$ 3,934.00
Project Number: MAL/SGP/OP5/STAR/CC/12/02
Start Date: 5/2012
End Date: 2/2014
Status: Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
All people in the longhouse were participated in the project including women. They participated in carrying construction materials to the site such as sand, boulders and cement. They assisted in building a dam and installing of penstock and electrical cable. Sometimes they help to plan and lead the work at the site. They also helped to encourage people in the longhouse to participate in all activities.
Inovative Financial Mechanisms
Aquaculture within the reservoir will implemented as the sale of harvested fish will be channelled to a community fund to maintain the microhydro. Each household will also contribute towards this maintenance fund as a minimal charge will be applied according to the usage of electricity provided. The micro hydro has an average of 8000 m3 of reservoir that can be used for aquaculture. The dam was designed to have a minimum depth of 1.5 m. It allows minimum water for aquaculture during dry season. An amount of 20,000 fish fry had been released into the reservoir in January 2014. A good quality fish with less muddy smell is expected. Approximately the reservoir of the micro hydro system will produce an annual income of USD27,000 from its aquaculture. Some of the income will be used for micro hydro maintenance and the capital for next circle of the business. The balance of the income will be distributed among the families in the longhouse.
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