Malaysia to depend less on fossil fuel, says Najib

My boss Mustapha Kamil reports from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

MALAYSIA is mapping out a plan to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel, by such methods as increasing usage of energy from renewable sources to 2,000MW by 2020 from 50MW now.

The plan, which forms part of Malaysia's role in the global effort to cut carbon emission and improve global energy security, was highlighted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a keynote address at the World Future Energy Summit which started in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Najib's address, which painted a gloomy picture if the world continued to ignore the negative impact excessive carbon emission was having on global climate change, could not have come at a better time since the world had been experiencing some of the most extreme weather patterns ever recorded. The northern hemisphere is facing one of its harshest winters in history.

He said Malaysia had introduced several incentives to promote renewable energy, including the Small Renewable Energy Programme which provided for a higher purchasing price for electricity generated through renewable energy resources by the grid operator. "We are in the process of instituting a renewable energy law and one of the mechanisms we are looking into is feed-in tariffs to promote usage of this type of energy."

Feed-in tariffs is a mechanism which guarantees that energy generated through renewable sources is purchased by the national grid operator. It has worked successfully in Europe and is being practised in more than 60 countries. He also spoke of Malaysia's plan to increase the use of solar power through the "Suria 1000 Programme".

Reminding the developing economies to make their energy industries more efficient amid increasing energy prices and harmful emissions, Najib said Malaysia had commissioned a study to restructure and realign its energy sector. Malaysia established the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry in early 2009, essentially to transform the country into a green nation.

"We will be looking at four main sectors to implement green technologies, namely energy, transport, buildings and water. "To benefit from a green economy while reducing carbon footprint, Malaysia has launched the National Biotechnology Policy and the National Biofuel Policy in 2005. The policies seek to leverage on the natural strengths of Malaysia where at least 50 per cent of land area remains forested.

"Our embracing of green technology is not only to conserve our resources, but also to act as a new economic impetus for Malaysia." He said the international community failed to seize the opportunity at the last summit on climate change in Copenhagen as they did not manage to face the issue decisively.

Najib, here on a working visit, was scheduled to visit Dubai, an emirate in the United Arab Emirates. He was scheduled to meet UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and tour the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

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