Opinion

Development of marine RE must be fuelled by strong political will

by DR IZYAN MUNIRAH MOHD ZAIDEEN & CAPT MOHD FAIZAL RAMLI / pic BLOOMBERG

ENERGY has a significant impact on politics. Voters have always been interested in lowering their electricity bills, but as global awareness of climate change has increased, voters and the general public should actively support clean and renewable energy (RE) sources.

Therefore, political parties must embrace RE in order to address newly emerging environmental issues. Moreover, politicians should be criticised for playing politics with energy and emissions, and should do more to meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s emission targets.

Climate change is an inevitable problem that must be addressed in a fair and responsible manner. Malaysia has reached a critical stage in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crises, as it increases efforts and commitments to transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy, according to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

He stated that this implies a progressive and comprehensive transformation of the country’s economic and financial systems, in addition to sectors related to food, water, and energy, as well as essential commodities, in a sustainable, equitable and transparent way.

The high demand for energy, combined with the climate change challenges posed by carbon emissions, has compelled the government to embark on an energy generation diversification strategy that allows for greater use of RE sources.

Malaysia has a promising outlook for the adoption of RE sources and exploring new frontiers is a valuable opportunity for success. A new source of RE will add value to the entire value chain, resulting in a plethora of national benefits.

RE sources generate a substantial portion of the nation’s electricity. RE is gaining popularity as part of the clean energy transition, and Malaysia should seek to innovate and participate in the development of the marine RE sector.

In marine areas, RE sources such as wave, tidal and ocean thermal are abundant. It has the potential to bridge the gap between economically feasible, civilised and environmentally-friendly energy to support the economic growth of Malaysia.

In order to ensure accountability and inclusivity, the legal framework governing energy provision must be open and accessible. The National Energy Policy (NEP) should consolidate all policies and plans pertaining to energy production, distribution and consumption, as well as provide insight into the nation’s GDP priorities for increasing RE production.

It is crucial for the implementation of a rigorous NEP to ensure that energy initiatives are cohesive and comprehensive for the nation’s overall benefit, including the management of the energy paradox of shares, security and environmental stewardship.

Due to its extensive coastline, Malaysia has a tremendous opportunity to become an influential and effective steward of marine RE production, while balancing economic and environmental concerns. RE deployment will generate employment and open up new business opportunities for the industrialisation of the core network. The use of green energy has afforded Malaysia new opportunities.

The transition to RE requires strong political support and effective legislation, investments and support mechanisms facilitated by the government. Equally important is the government’s support in the form of progressive policies and forward-thinking regulatory frameworks, which will be essential to the development. This will increase the public’s support for the government’s dedication to the cause.

  • Dr Izyan Munirah Mohd Zaideen is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Maritime Studies, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, and Cap Mohd Faizal Ramli is an environmental, health and safety marine specialist in the oil and gas sector.
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