The “minimal effort” of only switching on alternating street lights, as well as energy efficiency measures in government buildings has led to nearly $10 million in savings annually, the minister of Energy and Industry disclosed.

According to YB Dato Paduka Dr Hj Mat Suny Hj Md Hussein, the government has been able to save $3.6 million a year by only switching on every other street light. Meanwhile, energy saving measures enforced in government buildings has saved an annual $6 million or 6 gigawatt hours (GWh).

“It’s a minimal effort initiative which has brought on big savings while still maintaining public safety,” he said at the Legislative Council meeting this morning. He added that the other set of street lights will be used after every six months. The reduction of lighting is not implemented where public safety may be compromised such as at flyovers, roundabouts, and major junctions.

YB Dato Hj Mat Suny during the opening of this year’s Legislative Council session. Photo: Rudolf Portillo/The Scoop

These initiatives are among the government’s efforts to bring down national energy consumption by up to 45 per cent by the year 2035, the minister reiterated. He also addressed YB Iswandy Ahmad’s concern about the steps Brunei has taken since it ratified the global Paris Agreement in September 2016.

“We are currently preparing a ‘contribution report’ to be submitted soon to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, whereby it outlines Brunei’s strategies and aims to meet the target of the agreement.”

These include reducing “waste gas” and greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry by up to 30 per cent, and supplying up to 10 per cent of the national energy mix via renewable energy by 2035.

YB Dato Hj Mat Suny also said that the Energy and Industry Department is looking into the possibility of a “feed-in tariff” programme in the future.

A feed-in tariff programme will allow households that harvest electricity produced from renewable energy such as by using solar panels, to sell any surplus to the national power grid. The feed-in system is currently already adopted by many developed countries.

As of 2013, oil is the most consumed energy source in the sultanate, comprising 65.6 per cent. This is followed by electricity at 32.2 per cent and gas at 2.2 per cent. Less than one per cent of energy is generated by solar power.