Malaysia has to up its game to achieve 20% RE target, says ex-EC chief

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 20): Malaysia must up its game if the country wants to achieve its target of 20% electricity to be generated by renewable sources by 2030, compared to only 2% now, as the target is rather aggressive with low participation from the public, said Energy Council of Malaysia chairman Datuk Abdul Razak Abdul Majid.

"It is a big step (taken by the government) and it is (an) aggressive target. With (such a) target, it should be a programme, with initiatives to meet the target.

"It depends on how much government is willing to facilitate and [if the] general public wants to participate in the green agenda. We will encourage that (public participation)," he told reporters after his keynote session themed 'Green Development and Transformation in Electric Supply Industry (ESI)' at the Conference of Electric Power Supply Industry 2018 (Cepsi 2018), here, today.

"If it is purely driven by the commercial [sector], it won't be [happening] so fast. But if the idea is about public participating in the green agenda, then it could move faster," he added.

The council Abdul Razak chairs now is a non-governmental organisation. He was formerly the Energy Commission chairman.

Earlier, during the keynote session, Abdul Razak shared that achieving the higher renewable energy target would depend on solar panel and battery prices.

"I think there will be a time when solar panel and battery prices drop, which will give you the impetus to drive higher renewable energy content.

"Every renewable energy [content] you put in, you have to put some backup (base load) in case the output from solar is low," he said, adding that many considerations should be taken into account, including land to be allocated for the generation of solar energy as well.

Abdul Razak noted that fund limitations, in terms of addressing the gap between cost of generating renewable energy and the grid parity, would also weigh on efforts to reach higher renewable energy efficiency.

"Renewable energy is not cheap. To put a panel on your rooftop is quite costly. The cost to install the panel is about RM6,000 to RM7,000 per kilowatt and not many people can afford it.

"(There should be) a true market pricing for the system... (If not), the interchangeability will not be so significant. It will not be as encouraging," he added.

However, he said there are some incentives under the feed-in-tariff (FiT) mechanism to install the solar panel, though the scope is limited to encourage and promote only.

"I don't think the government intends to accelerate (the adoption of renewable energy) using that FiT mechanism. It is more for the government to introduce large-scale solar systems, which is quite interesting because it was done by contract basis and the quota was given by the government," he added.