Greener energy solutions for a sustainable future: issues and challenges for Malaysia
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Energy Policy 31 (2003) 10611072
Greener energy solutions for a sustainable future: issues andchallenges for Malaysia
Mohd. Zamzam Jaafar, Wong Hwee Kheng*, Norhayati Kamaruddin
Pusat Tenaga Malaysia (Malaysia Energy Centre), Block C3, Kompleks PETRONAS Research & Scientific Services (PRSS), Lot 3288 & 3289,
Off Jalan Ayer Itam, Kawasan Institusi Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
This paper examines the intricacy of energy policies, issues and challenges woven into the development of the energy sector in
Malaysia. As highlighted in the Third Outline Perspective Plan (OPP3) and the Eighth Malaysia Plan (8MP) unveiled in April 2001,
efforts will be intensied to moderate the growth of energy demand and to develop renewable energy as the fth fuel in electricity
generation. Whilst the general energy policy thrust for the next ten years remains unchanged, concerted efforts will be made to usher
the energy sector development on a greener path. With a projected average economic growth rate of 7.5% per year in the 20012005
period, resource rich Malaysia would have to cater for the 7.8% yearly increase in nal energy demand. Total primary energy supply
is projected to grow at an average of 7.2% per year in the same period. Against the backdrop of a growing need for coal and piped
natural gas imports and Malaysia becoming a net crude oil importer in 2008, greater challenges lie ahead for the energy sector. This
implies that Peninsular Malaysia may become a net importer of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) sooner than expected. Higher
utilization rate of natural gas as the green fuel will be encouraged in electricity and non-electricity sectors. Furthermore, scal
incentives in Budget 2001 to promote renewable energy and energy efciency provide a timely boost for implementation of the new
fth fuel strategy. Although the overall approach in addressing energy issues and challenges hinges on the precautionary principle,
the main thrust of energy sector development in Malaysia will continue to focus on adequacy, quality and security of energy supply
and the promotion of its efcient utilization with minimum negative impacts on the environment.
r 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Renewable energy; Fuel mix; Pricing
Malaysia is made up of Peninsular Malaysia and thestates of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.Today about 80% of the total 23.3 million people live inPeninsular Malaysia, the hub of the countrys economicactivities. Like many other developing countries, energyhas been the prime contributor towards the rapidgrowth of Malaysias economy. Ruralurban migration,higher living standards and increased income per capitahave also spurred an ever-increasing demand for energy.Stable and abundant supply of energy resources in
Malaysia epitomizes how blessed Malaysia is with thesenatural assets. In terms of energy equivalent, Malaysiahas gas reserves, which are four times the size of itscrude oil reserves. Natural gas reserves off the east coast
of Peninsular Malaysia are dedicated for domesticconsumption while those in Sarawak are allocated asrevenue earner in the form of liqueed natural gas(LNG) exports. The locked-in demand created throughthe construction of gas-red power plants and theconversion of oil-red thermal power stations to gasring also created the necessary scale to justify theincrease of natural gas production and development ofthe Trans-Peninsular gas pipeline.Based on past energy patterns, growth in energy
demand concentrated in Peninsular Malaysia, implyinguneven demand trends between Peninsular Malaysia onone hand and Sabah and Sarawak on the other. Sales ofelectricity in Peninsular Malaysia recorded a double-digit average annual growth rate for the past ten years,in tandem with the rapid rate of industrialization.Over the last two decades, pragmatic energy policies
have facilitated a more environment-friendly energydevelopment path. For instance, the four-fuel strategyadopted has accelerated the transition of oil substitution.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (W.H. Kheng).
0301-4215/03/$ - see front matter r 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 3 0 1 - 4 2 1 5 ( 0 2 ) 0 0 2 1 6 - 1
As a result natural gas has made dramatic inroads as thepreferred fuel in the electricity industry, rising from1.2% of the total fuel mix in 1980 to 71.1% in 1999.While the general energy policy thrust for the next tenyears remains unchanged, concerted efforts will be madeto usher the energy sector development on a greenerpath. The Government has set a target that 5% ofelectricity generated should be from renewable energyby 2005. The challenge here would be to give renewableenergy the necessary lift to greater heights in the nextve years. Efforts to promote energy efciency, which isconsidered a unique domestic energy resource, will alsobe intensied. Although opportunities for the applica-tion of sustainable energy options abound, the energysector must also rise to the challenge of ensuringadequate, reliable and cost-effective supply of energywhilst contributing towards socio-economic welfare,industrialization and export earnings.
2. An overview of the Malaysia energy sector
With a projected average economic growth rate of7.5% per year in the 20012005 period, resource-richMalaysia would have to cater for the 7.8% yearlyincrease in nal energy demand. Total primary energysupply is projected to grow at an average of 7.2% peryear in the same period (Economic Planning Unit,2001a). The main sources of commercial energy supplyin 1999 amounting to 37.2 million tonnes oil equivalent(Mtoe) were derived from crude oil and petroleumproducts (48.5%) followed by natural gas (41.8%), coaland coke (5.2%) and hydro (4.5%). In the 19901999period, the share of crude oil and petroleum products in
the total primary energy supply declined while that ofnatural gas increased indicating a successful reductionfrom the overall dependence on crude oil and petroleumproducts (Ministry of Energy, Communications andMultimedia, Malaysia, 1999, 2000) (see Fig. 1).Total oil reserves stood at 3.42 billion barrels in 1999.
With sustained domestic production of oil and maturityof existing elds, domestic crude oil reserves areexpected to last at least another ten years. Malaysia isexpected to be a net crude oil importer by 2008(Economic Planning Unit, 2001b) unless efforts indomestic oil exploration result in discoveries of sub-stantial new oil reserves.Natural gas can be classied into two types viz.
associated and non-associated gas. As at 1999, totalnatural reserves amounted to 84.4 trillion standard cubicfeet of which 16% was associated gas and the remaining84% was non-associated gas (Ministry of Energy,Communications and Multimedia, Malaysia, 2000). Toensure adequate gas supply, the country will supplementdomestic gas supply with gas from the MalaysiaThaiJoint Development Area (MTJDA), West Natuna andSouth Sumatra. The gas pipeline interconnections willform part of the Trans-ASEAN gas pipeline network.The countrys known coal reserves in 2000, mainly in
Sarawak and Sabah, were estimated at 1050 milliontonnes. Although coal quality ranges from lignite toanthracite, bituminous and sub-bituminous coal formthe main share of the total coal reserves. Based on theforecast coal production at 0.75 million tonnes per year,a recent report highlighted that 95% of the total coalrequirement by the year 2005 still needs to be imported(Ambun, 2000). The lack of economies of scale andcompetition from bigger coal producing countries arereasons why development of domestic coal resources hasnot been aggressively pursued.
Fig. 1. Share of energy input in commercial energy supply (19901999). Source: National Energy Balance 1998 and 1999.
M. Zamzam Jaafar et al. / Energy Policy 31 (2003) 106110721062
The expansion of industrial and transport sectorswere main contributors to the increase of nal demandfor commercial energy, which collectively grew at anaverage annual growth rate of 7.5%, from 11.3 Mtoe in1990 to 21.7 Mtoe in 1999. Fig. 2 shows that theindustrial and transport sectors were the largest energyconsumers in the 19901999 period. In 1999, share oftransport and industrial sectors in the total nal energyuse were 42% and 38%, respectively.The decrease in the share of oil and petroleum
products in energy mix reects the success of the FourFuel Diversication Strategy and the National Deple-tion Policy introduced in the early 1980s. The share ofpetroleum products in nal commercial energy con-sumption declined from 75% in 1990 to 69% in 1999(see Fig. 3). Although the electricity sector has success-fully decoupled from oil dependency, the transportsector still relies heavily on petroleum products. Theincrease in private and commercial vehicles and the
expansion of road networks have contributed to thehigh energy demand growth in the transport sector. Thetrend toward greater urbanization accelerated thetransition to electricity where higher income per capitamade desirable electrical goods more affordable. Successof the rural electrication programme introduced by theGovernment also contributed to an increase in electri-city demand. As of 2000, 93% of rural households inMalaysia were served with electricity. As shown inFig. 3, share of electricity in nal energy consumptionincreased from 13% to 18% in 1990 and 1999respectively.
3. Energy prospects in Malaysia
Malaysia in the 21st century faces many challenges asit sails through the uncharted path of globalization.Although the 19971998 economic downturn wascu