Brunei has ‘good potential’ for solar energy

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI has “good potential” to utilise solar energy due to its location, said a professor at Universiti Teknologi Brunei.

UTB’s Assistant Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Dr Nawaf Hazim Saeid said solar intensity is higher in Brunei compared to other countries because of the amount of sunlight it has daily.

Solar intensity refers to the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface.

He said Brunei can tap into solar energy by placing photovoltaic panels in large areas of land mass unoccupied by the population.

“There are a lot of areas in Brunei that can be used to generate solar energy, including photovoltaic panels on top of buildings and houses,” he said.

He said Brunei Darussalam is gifted by many natural resources in addition to its oil and gas.

“In terms of renewable energy, Brunei has good potential to utilise solar energy. One of the successful projects for producing electricity is the Tenaga Suria Brunei Photovoltaic Power Generation Demonstration Project in Seria,” he said.

He added that hydropower and offshore wind power are other options as renewable energy for the country.

In a separate interview, UBD|IBM Centre Director Pg Dr Mohd Iskandar Pg Hj Petra said Brunei can supplement instead of substitute the current fossil fuel intensive energy base with renewable resources.

He said due to the current energy crisis and growing environmental consciousness, the global energy sector is shifting more towards sustainable and secure energy resources and technologies.

“Brunei is also contributing to this positive change by increasing the share of clean and renewable energy resources in its energy mix. For example, the government is targeting to generate at least 10 per cent of total power from new and renewable resources by 2035,” he said.

The UBD|IBM Centre is currently undertaking several projects related to renewable energy technologies.

“For example, we’ve developed a technology for micro-siting wind farms considering three dimensional wakes. This has been granted a patent by the United States patent office,” he said.

Micro-siting in this context refers to determining the best locations for the wind farms to optimise the amount of energy produced.

Pg Dr Mohd Iskandar said another area the centre is working on is modeling the intermittency of renewable energy sources and the stability issues of power grids when renewables are integrated on a large scale.

The short-term forecast of energy generation from solar and wind power plants is another project currently running at the centre.

“Projects related to distributed generation and optimal demand side management are also being undertaken. Optimal design of renewable integrated microgrids is another area we’re looking into.”

Pg Dr Mohd Iskandar said for any project to be successful, the end users of the project, or the public, should be aware of its merits and limitations.

“In a country like Brunei, with a high Human Development Index, the general public is somewhat aware of the need for clean energy for long-term sustainability. The media and initiatives like the energy clubs in schools can play a major role in propagating the message of clean energy further to the public,” he said.

He said there is a possibility for residential neighbourhoods or catchment areas here sharing a common power distribution system.

“Community owned and shared power systems are common in many parts of the world. Community owned wind energy projects in several countries like Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States are good examples. The required cost and benefit sharing mechanisms which are to be in place for such projects are often evolved by community interactions,” he said.

The Brunei Times