Coal plant a revenue killer, say NGOs
Nov 27, 2010:
Plans to push ahead with the controversial coal-fired power plant in Lahad
Datu, Sabah, will do the state no favours in its bid to achieve
international recognition for cutting carbon emissions, said a coalition
of environmental NGOs.
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Green Surf representative Wong Tack said in a statement that the state
government had already announced plans to use carbon trading as an
alternative to logging activities to generate revenue, while conserving
key wildlife habitats.
"It doesn't make sense that we are trying to attract investments in carbon
trading if we are going to have a coal plant at an eco-sensitive area. We
don't deserve international support for conservation or investments for
carbon trading if this is the case," he said.
The coalition was responding to a recent announcement in Tenaga Nasional
Berhad's (TNB) 2010 annual report, stating that the national energy giant
was going to submit a "revised" detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA)
report on the much-opposed project.
Earlier this month, local newspapers quoted state Tourism, Environment and
Culture Minister Masidi Manjun as saying that the state government is
committed to practicing Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest
Degradation (REDD-plus), which was formulated in the Bali Action Plan (COP
13) in 2007.
Wong stressed that the project had already been rejected and relocated
twice before, and TNB's insistence in pushing for the construction of the
300-megawatt facility would only waste more time, money and effort on
"debating a dirty energy source".
"Sabah should be leveraging on its position as a biodiversity hub to
attract investments for green power. Instead, we are wasting time on this
proposed coal plant.
"There is a commitment among the international community to support
forest, wildlife and marine conservation work in Sabah and here we are
talking about building a coal plant between the rainforest of Tabin and
the Coral Triangle.
"Building a coal plant in Sabah, and especially next to the Coral
Triangle, does not just break the hearts of locals, but also the world's,"
Insistent Avatar's 3rd incarnation
The coal-fired plant, to be built on Felda Sahabat land some 100km from
Lahad Datu town, is the third incarnation of the project after being
rejected twice on environmental grounds.
The first proposal in 2007 was for the facility to be built in Silam, also
in Lahad Datu. Two years later, the site was changed to Seguntor, Sandakan.
On both counts, the project raised fierce opposition from the public and
The current RM1.7 billion proposal has come under heavy criticism over the
past year, with Green Surf going as far as to accuse TNB of producing a
DEIA designed to "mislead" the public into believing the facility is
The proposed project was awarded to a consortium of TNB Remaco, Eden-Nova
and a Sabah state-owned company. A special purpose vehicle company, Lahad
Datu Energy Sdn Bhd, was formed to implement the project.