Renewables can save Malaysia’s future

Malaysia can reach net zero using home-grown, affordable renewables, a study has shown.

The study also found that by 2050, renewable energy will save Malaysia US$9 billion to US$13 billion in energy, environment, and health expenses.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Malaysia’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change (NRECC) developed the report, which shows that by aligning its low-emission development strategies with IRENA’s 1.5°C scenario, Malaysia can increase its renewable energy share to over half its final energy mix by 2050, from five per cent.

Malaysia must choose between fossil fuels and renewable energy as its GDP will nearly triple by 2050.

The NRECC recently launched the Malaysia Energy Transition Perspective, a long-term energy pathway to a cleaner, and more sustainable energy system.

Malaysia needs system flexibility to integrate renewables cost-effectively. Long-term planning must focus on grid integration solutions and grid flexibility.

The power sector and grid-related investments comprise over 70 per cent of Malaysia’s energy transition pathway’s US$375 billion investment requirement. Renewable energy investment still slows Malaysia’s energy shift.

The paper recommends strengthening national financial institutions, overcoming legal and commercial impediments, and reducing fossil-fuel subsidies.

Malaysia must improve renewables investment conditions immediately.

“Through strategy and policies that prioritise clean energy investments and are consistent at all government levels, Malaysia can achieve its renewed ambition of reaching net zero by 2050 while securing a more prosperous, sustainable future for its people,” said IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera.

NRECC Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said Malaysia had a robust renewable energy sector value chain that stretched from the production to the service supply stage.

“We must use our competitive advantage to attract high-value, environmentally responsible investment. These policies must be sustainable and energy-centric and consider contemporary changes and socio-economic needs,” said Nik Nazmi.

The research recommends electrification and energy efficiency for Malaysia’s net zero pathway. Electricity should account for 40 per cent of all end-use sector final energy consumption by 2050, up from 26 per cent in 2018.

Electrifying industrial and transport end-uses need more electricity. EV sales must exceed 0.4 million by 2030 and reach 80 per cent by 2050. Malaysia’s clean hydrogen demand could reach 1.5 million tonnes by 2050.

The country can become a trusted green hydrogen provider if national aims, needs, and mandates are met. Solar photovoltaic will lead Malaysia’s energy transformation regardless of the scenario, requiring 150 gigawatts of new capacity by 2050.

The nation must also use its diverse bioenergy potential. Bioenergy will account for 16 per cent of Malaysia’s ultimate energy consumption by 2050, so sustainable bioenergy use can help revolutionise transport, industry, and non-energy sectors.

The paper discusses the country’s position in Southeast Asia’s energy transformation. Thanks to its diversified renewable power systems, Malaysia can supply neighbouring nations with energy storage and regional connections.

The most cost-effective energy transformation requires increasing renewables integration in Malaysia’s national power systems and regionally with its neighbours. @Green 

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