The country’s transition into a higher RE mix by 2025 is estimated to contribute to over 100,000 in employment opportunities
by MARK RAO & AFIQ AZIZ/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
MALAYSIA’S goal to increase its renewable energy (RE) mix to 20% by 2025 is estimated to attract RM33.25 billion in private investments, creating new employment and business opportunities.
Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said this estimate is a result of a study her ministry commissioned to determine the monetary value in moving towards a greener energy future.
“That is a lot of money to invest, but at the same time, there are a lot of returns you can get,” she said in an address during the International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM) 2019 in Kuala Lumpur (KL) yesterday.
“Green (energy and technology), from the government’s perspective, is not only about cutting our carbon emissions and meeting our Paris Agreement. It is really about (wanting) to generate a new growth area and jobs for our people in Malaysia.”
She said Malaysia’s transition into a higher RE mix by 2025 is estimated to contribute to over 100,000 in employment opportunities, of which 39% will be in mini hydro, biomass (28%) and biogas (11%).
Rooftop solar and large scale solar will make up about 22% of the projected employment figure.
Malaysia is among the signatories of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement — a multinational pledge to combat climate change — and promised to reduce its carbon emission per GDP by 45% in 2030. This is relative to its energy intensity in 2005.
Yeo said Malaysia is on a “comfortable path” in achieving this target having already reduced carbon emissions by 33% and will consider increasing its target after being approached by the United Nations (UN).
This will only be announced next year during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, she said.
However, achieving a 20% RE generation mix by 2025 is a far more challenging and arduous task as an estimated 6.9gW additional capacity is needed from alternative energy sources.
Note that the target also excludes large scale hydro projects above 100mW. Towards this, the government via the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) has undertaken several initiatives to encourage greater green energy use and green technology adoption.
This includes the revised net energy metering scheme which allows for excess solar energy produced from homes to be sold to Tenaga Nasional Bhd on a “one-on-one” basis where there is no difference between selling and purchasing prices.
Previously, energy bought was higher than what was sold to the national utility. The revised scheme saw its uptake increase three times in the first nine months of this year compared to the three year-period from 2016 to 2018.
Meanwhile, the bids for the third cycle of the Large Scale Solar project came in as low as 17.77 sen per kilowatt hour (kWh).
This was below the average gas generation cost of 23.22 sen per kWh and was the first time in Malaysia’s history that the generation cost for solar energy was below the average cost of gas-generated power.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s feed-in tariff mechanism saw 389 non-performing projects cancelled and approximately RM2.16 billion saved as a result.
The IGEM entered its 10th edition this year and is striving to generate RM2.83 billion in business leads over the three-day event.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) launched the event yesterday and said the government is committed in providing private businesses the avenue to innovate and garner profits in Malaysia’s green industry.
He further announced that Malaysian Green Technology Corp — an agency set up under MESTECC to spearhead Malaysia’s green agenda — will be rebranded to Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Centre (GreenTech Malaysia) .
“A national climate change centre is required to do climate change-related data collection, risk analytics, policy coordination among different levels and aspects of government to ensure that Malaysia does not only survive, but thrive as the globe inevitably warms in the future,” he said during his keynote address.
He added that the rebranding of GreenTech Malaysia is in line with the current government’s pledge to keep the civil service lean and reduce public expenditure.