Brunei is venturing into alternative energy with the construction of South East Asia’s largest solar power plant, officials have announced.

The plant will supply 1.2MW of electricity to the national grid, the equivalent of powering about 400 homes,
writes AFP.

The project will be funded by Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation and the facility is expected to be fully operational by mid 2010.

Brunei is one of the world’s top oil and gas producers but the government is now keen to pursue alternative sources of energy.

“The government wants to promote other energy sources in order to more effectively utilise their precious natural resources,” general manager of Mitsubishi’s operations Osamu Ito told AFP.

“Mitsubishi is funding the project to strengthen our relationship with the Brunei Government,” he added. Mitsubishi has a long history in Brunei’s energy and agriculture sectors.

Ito did not disclose the cost of the project.

The plant is expected to save the burning of approximately 340,400l of crude oil and cut about 940t of carbon dioxide emissions annually.