Palm oil millers' input sought for RE roadmap

PETALING JAYA: THE government is seeking palm oil millers' input to formulate a new renewable energy (RE) roadmap that will see more participation from biomass and biogas plant operators.

Palm oil millers are seen to be practical enablers in using more homegrown technology and content.

"The National RE Policy and Action Plan 2009 is due for a revision to chart the way forward. Currently, the biggest allocation of RE quota goes to solar power but this sector is highly dependent on foreign technology and imports," said Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda) chief executive officer Badriyah Abdul Malek.


"There's a need to re-focus the RE industry to add more value to our economy. In moving towards a knowledge-based and service-oriented economy, we want to encourage more use of local technology and content. We see palm oil millers as key enablers of this vision," she said.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid had earlier officiated at the Second International Sustainable Energy Summit 2014, here, yesterday.

Seda, a government agency under the ministry, is a one-stop centre that facilitates supply and RE usage in Malaysia via feed-in tariff (FiT).

The FiT guarantees RE producers a premium selling price over that generated from depleting and finite sources such as oil, gas and coal. Power generated from renewable sources, such as oil palm biomass, biogas, mini-hydro and solar, are targeted to benefit from the FiT.

Currently, biomass and biogas only make up 37 per cent of the 536MW RE quota that had been allocated. Oil palm biomass and biogas plant operators, which had successfully bid for the RE quota and accorded licences by Seda, receive 32 sen per kWh under the FiT when they hook up to the national grid.

While acknowledging the sluggish take-up rate among biomass and biogas plant operators, Badriyah said the government is committed to re-balance RE developer interest towards this sector.

Asked if the government may raise the FiT for oil palm biomass and biogas plant operators, she replied: "We're looking to revise the FiT degression rates and bonus incentives." Mahdzir confirmed that changes to the FiT will be announced in the next quarter.

Degression rates reflect the falling cost of technologies, while bonus incentives spur developers to incorporate more homegrown know-how and local building materials in RE production.

Given the relatively limited FiT budget, which is funded by a 1.6 per cent levy on electricity bills of heavy users in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, Badriyah said it would be more realistic to spur more participation from the biomass and biogas sector.

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