Monday March 19, 2012
Time frame set for renewable energy to impact electricity supply
By YAP LENG KUEN
PUTRAJAYA: A three-year time frame is being set for renewable energy (RE) activities to kick off with expected higher funding and quotas.
“We are now at the stage of looking at this preliminary period in the implementation process,” Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Peter Chin told StarBiz.
“We would like to see a higher level of RE being generated in the future. But it is better to be more cautious and look at what this preliminary process is like in our implementation and the administration process by the Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia (SEDA Malaysia). We have to learn from this preliminary phase before we proceed in a more aggressive manner.
“We are looking at about three years to see how this RE is performing especially with solar energy for which the cost of solar production is getting lower and lower.”
On the progress of the RE sector, Chin said: “We are restricted by the amount in the kitty called the RE Fund for which we can only collect 1% from each account holder of Tenaga Nasional Bhd. Therefore, the quota that is being created to implement this feed-in tariff has to be rather small.
“Because of that, it will take time for RE to really take effect in terms of the impact that it can create on the total electricity supply.
“If the fund is higher, the quota can be increased and more RE can be generated. That will be good for the country in terms of emission of carbon and the fact that RE is considered a cleaner source of energy.”
Currently, 398 applicants have received the feed-in approvals. Out of these, 71 have signed the standardised renewable energy power purchase agreements (REPPAs).
FIT payments can only be made to those developers who have signed the REPPAs and implemented their projects successfully.
Industry players suggest there should be a liability imposed on those who have not implemented their projects as money is a scarce resource.
“In fact, they should be relieved of their allocation so that others can take their place. Deadlines should be set for implementation; under the REPPAs, there may be deadlines stipulated but who is actually monitoring all this?” asked an industry player.
SEDA Malaysia acts as a one-stop centre to facilitate interested parties in all matters related to RE; it is also working with relevant training institutes to set up a centre of excellence for each RE source.
In terms of research and development, SEDA Malaysia is working on an R&D roadmap for RE.
It has also been tasked to raise awareness on RE; one main awareness programme that has been planned is a sustainable energy conference.