Green growth towards a low carbon economy

Posted on September 10, 2011. Filed under: Green Technology |

Gulfnews.com–

Abu Dhabi: Dato’ Yahya Abdul Jabar, Malaysian ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News in a recent interview that Malaysia has given the mandate to promote sustainable development through the adoption of green technologies in the various economic sectors.

Malaysia has done this by pushing for a low-carbon economy through the launching of the National Green Technology Policy in 2009 which served as a springboard for the people of Malaysia to enjoy a good quality of life.

Jabar said that the global community is confronted with challenges related to the environment and climate change. The transformation of Malaysia’s economy to a low-carbon economy can be viewed as a strategic move to promote green technology as an engine of growth. This can help drive innovation and create employment in the country.

“As a result, many countries are promoting sustainable development by investing in green technology in the form of cleaner, low-carbon transport and energy systems, “smart” electricity grids, energy efficiency, renewable energy as well as in green research and development (R&D),” the ambassador said.

He added that the green technology signifies a global paradigm shift in which economic aspiration combines with resource productivity and conservation to spearhead sustainable development. Jabar noted that the Malaysian government firmly believes that national efforts are crucial in achieving the goals of sustainable development.

The ambassador stressed that Malaysia’s vision for a low-carbon growth trajectory is driven by energy, the economy, the environment and society.

These, he said, would ensure that the objectives of Malaysia’s national development policies “will continue to be balanced with environmental consideration”.

Renewable energy

According to the Malaysia Report issued by the Ministry of Energy, one of the biggest challenges in the Malaysian electricity industry is managing the country’s energy mix.

“Fossil fuels, including gas and coal, account for about 95 per cent of our generation mix. Malaysia has a total installed capacity of 21,873MW [as at March 2011] with 94.8 per cent of Malaysia’s electricity being generated from fossil fuels, 4.2 per cent from hydro and about 1 per cent from renewable sources,” the report showed.

However, with depleting local natural sources, particularly gas, and the fact that fossil fuels are the main polluters of the atmosphere, Malaysia is diversifying its fuel mix to ensure the security of supply on a long term basis.

There will be greater utilisation of indigenous renewable energy where five sources: biomass, biogas, solar, mini-hydro and solid waste have been identified, according the report.

Jabar said that the low carbon city framework can be used by all stakeholders, in human settlements like cities, townships or neighbourhoods either new or existing. He said the main focus would be on urban environment, urban transportation, urban infrastructure and buildings.

Electric vehicles

The ambassador added that the Malaysian government plans to reduce its carbon footprint by enhancing public transportation.

“Efforts will be directed towards developing an integrated approach to transportation planning, particularly at the urban level, with priority given to investment in energy efficiency and low carbon mobility that is also cost-effective, for example rail and bus rapid transit systems and integrated public and non-motorised transport. Intercity electric rail links will be upgraded to increase the current capacity to move people in a more carbon-efficient manner,” said Jabar.

He added that the Malaysian government is currently working towards the use of natural gas vehicles, especially buses, and electric vehicles in the country. The promotion of such vehicles offers the potential for Malaysia to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

The Malaysian government is in the process of preparing the electric vehicle infrastructure roadmap which includes a fleet test programme.

“The implementation of this fleet test will be the benchmark in developing a strategic plan and framework as well as the identification of entities that will benefit the electric vehicle industry in areas of services and new business opportunities,” Jabar added.

Financing scheme

The ambassador referred to a report on the move towards a low carbon green economy, saying that the government plans to grant more attractive fiscal incentives for the energy users to reduce their cost of doing business and to maintain their competitive edge in the international market.

A $4.35 billion (Dh15.96 billion) soft loan called the green technology financing scheme (GTFS) was launched by the government in 2010 to encourage the participation of companies and entrepreneurs in green technology.

The ministry of energy report showed that the fund provides soft loans to companies that supply and utilise green technology. For suppliers, the maximum financing is up to $145 million while for consumer companies it is at $29 million.

“In addition, the government bears 2 per cent of the total interest rate charged and provides a guarantee of 60 per cent on the fin-ancing amount, with the remaining 40 per cent by banking institutions.

“This instrument will help local industry players to leverage and achieve greater heights in the area of green technology,” said Jabar.

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