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Malaysia

Mudung Abun

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Conservation benefit: Support of 1,236 acres of watershed for 30 years

Community benefit: Integrated community-based micro-hydro power system

Date Approved: 05.2009

Energy

This project promotes sustainable energy production, helping reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and slowing global warming.

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

In the Kenyah language, Mudung Abun means “Cloud Mountain.” It’s a good description of the village’s location–a remote mountainous region in Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. Most of the 300 members of the community are farmers.

Two nonprofit organizations, the Institut Pribumi Malaysia Sarawak, and Partners of Community Organizations (PACOS Trust), will be building a 50-kilowatt micro-hydro energy system there. The project will promote renewable energy and enhance watershed conservation. Unlike big dams, small-scale hydro projects take advantage of steep drops in small streams and don’t harm the environment. The electricity will light 22 homes, community verandas, a women’s cooperative shop, food processing center, blacksmithing and welding workshop, and a community hall. It will replace eight diesel-powered generators and three rice-milling machines. As a result, it will eliminate the pollution caused by burning at least 211 gallons of diesel per month.

Seacology will fund installation of the micro-hydro system. The Seacology grant is in support of a 1,236-acre watershed area, which the community is protecting from shifting cultivation, logging, road construction, and other disturbances.

Project Updates

January 2011

The official project opening took place on December 20, 2010, and we’ve received a final report from project partner Institut Pribumi Malaysia Sarawak. In-kind support and services for the implementation of the project were provided by a variety of nongovernmental and community-based organizations, and Mudung Abun villagers contributed labor in the tradition of gotong royong (community self-help). The system is now providing 20 kilowatts of renewable energy a day for the community, eliminating the use of polluting fossil fuels. The community totally protected the catchment area of the Abun River; all destructive human activities are prohibited. The community has also planted numerous indigenous tree species, as well as some fruit trees within the watershed and along the banks of the Dangang and Abun Rivers. This project has improved the living conditions of the community by saving money previously spent on fuel for generators and giving women more time for activities such as handicrafts. The community is more interested in conserving the watershed and forest areas, since the forest is the source of power for the village.

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September 2010

The major components of the micro hydro project have been completed; works at the weir/dam and the forebay sites have been completed, the penstocks have been laid to the powerhouse and the construction of the powerhouse has been completed. Additionally, the turbine and the generator in the powerhouse have been installed and the test run for the turbine was carried out for an hour and the system is working well. Currently the village is working on connecting the main electrical cable lines to the longhouse and wiring individual houses. The project should be fully completed within the month.

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May 2010

The project contact reports that the micro hydro project in Mudung Abun is progressing well. The construction of the forebay has been completed and the weir is under construction.

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March 2010

The penstock for the water to run the turbine has been connected to the powerhouse. Excavating work for the weir & intake has been completed. The forebay is under construction.

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December 2009

The project coordinator reports that the community has identified suitable sites for the construction of the project weir, fore-bay and power house. The community has built a 1km long trail/road to the project sites and has started to gather building materials for the construction of the different civil work components of the project. Site clearing for the fore-bay, weir, and power house have been completed and construction of the fore-bay is in progress. The ground survey and demarcation line for the penstock (the pipe from the stream to the turbine) has been completed. The clearing and digging work along the penstock line is in progress. IPIMAS has conducted a community consultation workshop on micro-hydro power development that was attended by the members of the village. The workshop explored the importance of micro-hydro power to the local community, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, watersheds protection, socio-economic development planning and livelihood activities.

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