Hot Chuping to be energy hotspot

ADIE SURI ZULKEFLI


PADANG BESAR: Chuping was once known as the “sweetest place in the country” with sugarcane plantations that sprawled across 3,500ha of the valley.

It also earned the title hottest place in Malaysia when the area recorded 40.1°C in 1998.

However, the Chuping heat will soon turn into a blessing for the people here as the Chuping Valley Industrial Area (CVIA) is set to transform this area into the “hottest” Renewable Energy Generation (REG) powerhouse.

Gading Kencana Sdn Bhd, a renewable energy sector player, lauded the CVIA launch as timely, in line with the rapid growth of the REG sector.

Its managing director, Datuk Guntor Tobeng, said Chuping had enormous potential to become a catalyst for the REG sector as it had the warmest weather (irradiance, in technical terms) compared with other places in the peninsula.

Guntor said with the capability of producing 1,700W of energy for each square metre, Chuping would be the “hottest” location among investors in the sector.

He said the company would make an initial investment of RM250 million to build a 30MW solar energy harvesting facility on a 60ha plot in CVIA’s 13,354ha project.

“Of course, we will have to go through the bidding process with the Energy Commission for the plot.

“If everything goes as planned, we expect the solar-harvesting facility in CVIA to be up and running by 2019,” he said, after the project launch by Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin.

Present were Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man and Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) chief executive officer Datuk Redza Rafiq.

Guntor said his company operated two large solar-harvesting facilities in Malacca and Bidor, Perak.

Finnish embassy first secretary in Kuala Lumpur, Laakkonen Teemu, was all praise for the project, as it would contribute to sustainable energy production while reducing carbon emissions.

“We (Finnish government) are keen to share our knowledge in green technology .

“Southeast Asia, and in particular Malaysia and Chuping Valley, have huge opportunities to tap the growing renewable energy sector as the climate here is suitable for solar harvesting.

“Unlike Finland, where we have a long winter season, forcing us to innovate to generate energy, over here every day is a good day for solar-power generation,” he said.

Besides renewable energy, the other two main clusters in the CVIA are green manufacturing and halal industries, besides a 204ha Perlis Inland Port.

State Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director Izamael Zamzuri Ismail said CVIA was a highly anticipated project as it would not only be a catalyst to Perlis’ growth, but also stem talent outflow from the state.

“We have three institutions of higher learning here: Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Universiti Teknologi Mara and a polytechnic.

“Most of the graduates, local and outsiders who studied here, wish to stay in Perlis, but there are not many job offers.

“This project will be the long-term answer with the creation of at least 12,500 jobs.”