MESTECC to award RM3.2b EE projects

The projects, comprising RE, EE and NEM segments, are in line with the govt’s aim to increase electricity generation from sustainable resources

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

The government will dish out RM3.2 billion worth of sustainable electricity generation projects this year, said the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC).

Minister Yeo Bee Yin (picture)said the projects, comprising renewable energy (RE), energy efficiency (EE) and net energy metering (NEM) segments are in line with the government’s aim to increase electricity generation from sustainable resources.

Yeo said the projects include retrofit works for government buildings worth RM200 million, in addition to RM2 billion allocated under the third cycle of the Large-Scale Solar 3 (LSS3) scheme.

“The government is going ahead with energy performance contracts and one of the things that we want to do is to make the financing for ‘green projects’ more viable.

“Among them is the retrofitting works under the EE for 50 government buildings, which are expected to cost about RM200 million, and we will announce the opening of the bidding once we are ready,” she told reporters after the MIDF Green Conference 2019 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Besides the RE and EE projects, Yeo said the ministry will also dish out NEM projects worth RM1 billion, which will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Apart from the solar projects and the retrofitting works, there is NEM projects which will deliver 500MW for two years.

“So that is another RM1 billion worth of opportunities for industry players who find this kind of projects attractive,” said Yeo.

In February, the ministry welcomed bids for the LSS3 projects, which are being tendered on the capacity of between 1MW and 100MW, with a targeted aggregate capacity of 500MW in Peninsular Malaysia.

Yeo said MESTECC expects to finalise the tenders by year-end after the competitive bidding process ends in August 2019.

In addition, Yeo said the government is looking to provide incentives for more private green projects to entice investors and industry players to participate in the sustainable projects.

“What we want right now for the government is to see how we can change our regulations and be more inclusive to green financing or give incentives to more private green projects.

“Moving forward, we want industry players to come in to create more investments as EE is not just about decarbonisation of companies, it is also about cost-cutting,” she said,

She added that MESTECC has appointed the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) to advise the government and put forward recommendations on sustainable project financing.

“The complete ecosystem of a sustainable industry should consist of people, technology, financing and regulatory framework.

“We have appointed the SC to set up a task force and they will be submitting recommendations to the government in terms of policies and action plans by the end of July,” she said, adding that the recommendations are expected to be included in Budget 2020.

Commenting on the research and development (R&D) in the energy industry, she said there is a mismatch between the research conducted in the country and the industry’s demand.

“There is a disconnection on what the industry needs and what the researchers have been doing. This is because most of Malaysian researchers are in the academic line and only 12% of them are working in the industry.

“At present, only 8.9% of the national allocation for R&D is funding the industry-based research, when in fact we should allocate more,” she said.

In addressing the shortage of industry-based research, Yeo said the ministry will be sourcing 100 government researchers to identified small and medium companies.

“The mismatch can be changed through this initiative, which is to connect the industry with the researchers, as well as getting our funds to be channelled for industry research to drive the market further.

“Our agencies have links to some companies and we would like others to come and see as we are in the middle of the identification process,” she said, adding that MESTECC is expected to place the researchers in April.