PSM: Increase NEM 3.0 quota to 1,800MW, current target too low

THE Government should increase the quota for the Net Energy Metering 3.0 (NEM 3.0) on solar energy use for commercial and industrial use to 1,800 megawatts (MW), instead of 300MW.

“While we laud the Government’s decision to renew the NEM project, for the year 2021 to 2023, to encourage the growth of the renewable energy (RE) sector, I believe the 500MW target is too low.

“I bet you that the commercial sector will be able to meet the quota within just a few months from now,” Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member Sharan Raj told FocusM.

Three days ago, the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry (Ketsa) announced the NEM 3.0 programme, aimed at providing an opportunity for more users to install the solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on the roofs of their respective buildings for electricity bill reduction.

Its minister Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said NEM3.0 would offer a quota of 500 megawatts (MW) from 2021 to 2023.

“The Government hopes that the implementation of NEM 3.0 will enable more Malaysians, Government agencies, houses of worship, as well as companies to be involved in the country’s renewable energy agenda.

“At the same time, it will also help reduce electricity bills to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic,” he was reported saying.

On that note, Sharan said that for this year alone, the demand for solar energy from the commercial and agriculture sector was at 442MW.

“And that this why I project the 300MW quota will be exhausted within nine months. The Government needs to revise the figure as the Peninsula Malaysia national grid still has enough capacity to manage another 1,500MW of solar energy,” he said.

The PSM leader added that by adding to the quota, more industries would be encouraged to purchase solar panels to generate electricity, which will inevitably reduce prices of the solar panels.

“And when the price drops, households will be attracted to purchase and install them in their homes, which will lead to cheaper electricity tariff and reduce carbon emission,” Sharan opined.

On why the Government was being conservative in their projection, Sharan suggested it could be due to the impact it would cause to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and independent power producers’ (IPP) profitability.

He added that renewable energy is a major disruption to the current method of power generation module used by TNB and the IPPs. However, Sharan urged the Government to look into the future.

“We have to acknowledge the fact that RE, particularly solar power, will make IPPs redundant sooner or later.

“It’s good for the public at large but some in the Government still wants to maintain the obsolete power generation model to protect the business interest of a select few.

“But we need to be rid of these kinds of protectionism. Healthy competition is the way forward for any businesses to thrive.

“Plus, adoption of solar energy will help reduce electricity tariff, decrease our carbon footprint and slash the nation’s fuel import bill,” Sharan remarked.

On the Program Net Offset Virtual Aggregation (Nova) programme, Sharan said that it was a step in the right direction to allow companies to generate their own electricity using their waste products.

“PSM have been calling for the Government to democratise access to the national power grid by allowing RE to be generated by a company at one location but used in other locations by the same entity.

“The Nova programme will help private entities to invest in building their own mini-hydro or bio-methane plants for their own use,” he added. – Jan 2, 2021

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