DARE study: Malaysia’s energy transition demands a more varied mix

MALAYSIA’S transition to low-carbon energy goals presents a dual challenge: delivering value today while simultaneously building the ecosystem that will enable achieving Malaysia’s ambition of 70% renewable energy (RE) by 2050.

While Malaysia has exhibited a consistent capacity for growth in RE sectors, the need to improve energy efficiency and mitigate environmental concerns necessitates the diversification of a sustainable energy mix.

On that note, local think-tank Datametrics Research and Information Centre Sdn Bhd (DARE) in its latest report has outlined a comparative thesis to advance Malaysia’s low-carbon goals.

Entitled “A Comparative Analysis of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Platforms in Malaysia”, the report identifies both challenges and prospects in renewable and sustainable energy platforms by diving into an array of sources such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biogas and biomass.

It also scrutinises the synergistic potential of co-generation (Cogen) and waste heat recovery (WHR) systems, both of which are pivotal for Malaysia’s ambition to secure 70% RE by 2050.

Source: Datametrics Research and Information Centre Sdn Bhd

Elaborating on Malaysia’s RE developments, DARE’s managing director Pankaj Kumar emphasised the benefits observed in countries like Germany and Japan from adopting sustainable energy solutions such as Cogen and WHR.

“Despite common challenges in renewables, Malaysia’s RE sector has consistently demonstrated capacity for growth. However, industries involved in Malaysia’s renewable and sustainable energy sectors must remain agile,” observed Pankaj.

“Adapting to the ever-changing sustainable energy environment is crucial to maintain our push towards net-zero and ensure that the solutions we commit to are as practical as they are equitable and just.”

Key findings of the study also include:

  • The distinction between renewable and sustainable energy for effective energy investment decision-making;
  • The role of carbon offsetting in enhancing Malaysia’s green initiatives like National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR), Malaysia Renewable Energy Roadmap (MyRER) and the New Economic Policy (NEP); and
  • Malaysia’s leadership in sustainable solutions and green innovative technologies in the ASEAN region.

While compiling data on the opportunities and benefits of RE for adaptation and resilience in sustainable solutions, the think tank also uncovered pressing challenges such as energy storage.

Pankaj Kumar

“These challenges could hinder achieving Malaysia’s energy targets if overlooked,” Pankaj stressed.

“The adoption of sustainable technologies and a varied energy mix along with climate adaptation and resilience financing should not be seen as a burden but rather as an opportunity that yields financial benefits.”

He added: “Cogen for example, is able to achieve about 40%-60% reduction of energy cost. Industries and businesses need to assess such opportunities in terms of fiscal prudence, environmental dividends and ROI (return on investment) from green energy initiatives.”

This method, according to Pankaj, has been proven to be cost-effective and can reduce carbon emissions as well as energy costs.

“It serves as a power generation alternative that assists industrial and factory operations in mitigating the drawbacks of heat losses from their conventional systems, achieving up to 85% efficiency compared to traditional methods,” he added.

For instance, French aerospace multinational Safran S.A. has achieved savings of 168 million kWh (kilowatt hours) over 10 years at its WHR facility in Sendayan in Negri Sembilan.

This project undertaken by its Safran Group Malaysia’s subsidiary’s appointed solutions provider Kinergy Advancement Bhd (KAB) highlights the practical benefits of sustainable technologies such as Cogen and WHR systems. – Dec 17, 2023.

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