A large portion of renewable energy in this world is generated using hydroelectric generators. At first glance, this might seem to be the most obvious answer to help Malaysia to increase its renewable energy mix, targeted to be at 20% by the time 2030 comes along.
In recent years, much controversy has been blowing up when talking about large scale hydroelectric generators. The controversial Bakun Dam project, for instance, has generated so much interest from various stakeholders; ie environmentalists and the indigenous communities in the affected areas.
The controversy that surrounds these projects generally stems from the destruction that is caused by these large scale projects. In previous projects, thousands of square kilometres of land were affected, destroying not only habitats of wild animals but also destroying homes of people who have been living in the area for generations.
Perhaps building these large scale dams for power sources is an antiquated idea. Malaysia needs to be moving in a bold direction to address both the need for energy and the need to protect the people and the rich biodiversity that we have in our tropical rainforests.
This where small scale micro-hydroelectric generators can play a huge part in electricity generation for rural folk.
Unlike their big brothers, micro-hydroelectric generators such as those produced by Belgium's Turbulent does not require huge amounts of water flow, and big drops for them to function. These new technologies only require a small divergence from the river into the turbine, with only a small drop to function. These micro-hydro turbines will be able to sustainably supply electricity for a small village, 24 hours a day.
These micro-hydroelectric generators have several advantages over diesel generators that are currently used in a lot of remote areas. Not only that it is ecologically safe, but it also does not pollute the air, unlike diesel generators. Moreover, the cost of running the micro-hydro generators, including maintenance is much lower in the long run compared to diesel generators.
As Malaysia is blessed with an abundance of rivers in the rural areas, this makes the country absolutely ideal for the installation of the micro-hydroelectric generators. The availability of this technology should not be ignored and will be of benefit to both the private and the public sector in generating electricity for their stakeholders.