A lack of access to air conditioning, heating or refrigeration paints a picture of what energy poverty looks like for vulnerable populations. People in this category lack modern and renewable energy sources to help meet everyday needs. This is especially true for those in rural or hard-to-reach areas in Malaysia. This has called attention to the need for renewable energy in Malaysia.
More than 733 million people do not have access to electricity and 2.4 billion (more than half the population of Asia) cannot access clean cooking resources. As 2030 approaches, there is an increasing urgency to meet one of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.”
Energy poverty is high in Asia and in Southeast Asia specifically. Based on expectations, the energy demand could more than double by 2040. As one of the better-developed nations in Southeast Asia, Malaysia has the distinctive potential to develop a sustainable system reliant on renewable energy rather than fossil fuels.
To meet its clean energy target, Malaysia wants to recreate its national power grid by using digital systems, machine learning and automation. The country promises to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, using clean and renewable energy. There will be a replacement of power plants and the newer systems will be the standard beyond 2030. Battery energy storage systems or BESS’s are to be expanded to a 500MW capacity to meet solar energy goals.
Advantages of Renewable Energy
Multiple benefits come with investing and transitioning to renewable energy for Malaysia. Firstly, it is cost-effective in lowering energy, environmental or health expenses and can save the nation more than $9 billion annually by 2050. An investment in renewable energy also permits tax allowances and greater financial incentives for homeowners and businesses seeking locally sourced sustainable energy. And finally, the renewable energy transition can reduce rising labor and material costs and create millions of new work opportunities in various fields by 2030.
The First Local Battery Energy Storage Systems
Citaglobal and Genetec Technology formed Citaglobal Genetec BESS and launched Malaysia’s first developed and produced BESS. Successfully demoed in 2022, the system is designed to be portable and large-scale. If these challenges can be met, BESS makes grid integration and connecting to remote sites much more feasible.
It is also customizable and supports renewable energy such as hydro, solar or wind to multifaceted industries–from manufacturing to telecommunications. Such a system is key for Malaysia to help meet its 2050 net zero emissions target and secure renewable energy security. The Citiglobal Genetec joint partnership hopes to market the BESS system to other Southeast Asian countries.
Plus Xnergy, cofounded by Group CEO Ko Chuan Zhen, is a Malaysian clean energy “solutionist”. Its revised 2023 budget aims to sustainably expand Malaysia’s job market and increase the average wage. The budget’s initiatives include: increasing tax allowances and exemptions from the previous three to five years, prioritizing flood mitigation and encouraging electric vehicle adoption. The clean energy company states that corporations will benefit from these initiatives and with lower energy costs, take up renewable energy much faster. By 2025, Plus Xnergy hopes to increase Malaysia’s clean energy mix by 31%, ensuring not only businesses, but homes receive low-cost, sustainable energy.
Plus Xnergy’s BESS product is designed to save energy and help populations and industries off the power grid in rural areas. The system reduces costs and provides stored, backup power in the event of a blackout or during peak seasons. Plus Xnergy claims that these affordable storage systems are quick and easy to install to scale. Additionally, purchasing these systems makes you eligible for the Green Investment Tax Allowance and helps reduce carbon footprints.
Gentari and Renewable Energy
Alongside battery storage as renewable, lower-carbon solutions, clean hydrogen is another viable option. Gentari is a clean energy firm whose mission is to responsibly and sustainably provide energy globally. As of now, it is collaborating with Singapore’s gas utility company, City Energy, to generate more than 1 million tons annually of clean hydrogen through a supply chain from Malaysia to Singapore. Green mobility is another pillar of Gentari’s solutions and it is working alongside City Energy on a charging network for electric vehicles across both countries’ borders.
Gentari further demonstrates its commitment to renewable energy in Malaysia by partnering with JLand Group (JLG), a Malaysian property developer, to create a green ecosystem across JLG’s many property projects. With the same renewable goals, its initiatives are slated to commence in the third quarter of 2023.
Transforming Energy for the Future
Taking action now will not only benefit Malaysia’s future economy but create reliable, renewable energy systems for rural and struggling populations. Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, told Rockefeller Foundation in 2021: “Access to energy transforms every facet of life, with reliable electricity often the first step toward helping a community lift itself out of poverty.”
– Clare Calzada