Communicate the cost of green initiatives

MAKING A POINT By Jagdev Singh Sidhu
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IT would appear that green is in judging by the number of announcements companies have recently made with regards to generating power from renewable sources.

On Tuesday, two companies inked renewable power purchase agreements.

Cepatwawasan Group Bhd’s subsidiary, Cash Horse (M) Sdn Bhd, signed a 12MW, 21-year renewable energy power purchase agreement (PPA) with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) at 21 sen per kwh while Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) agreed to buy electricity from KUB-Berjaya Energy Sdn Bhd for a period of 21 years at an estimated cost of RM1.84mil annually.

Those announcements come after Premium Renewable Energy announced some weeks back that it would set up a RM124mil bio-oil plant in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Premium Renewable is also investing in 29 bio-oil plants by 2020 as part of the Economic Transformation Programme to commercialise second-generation biofuel using oil palm biomass.

The move towards green energy is expected to be formalised once the feed-in-tariff mechanism under the Renewable Energy Act is implemented.

The feed-in-tariff is needed to boost the costlier renewable energy contribution to the country’s electricity generation mix from less than 1% in 2009 to around 5.5% by 2015 and to 11% of all electricity generated nationwide in 2020.

Consumers have to be prepared to pay a little bit more for their monthly electricity bills to support the higher charges being levied on renewable energy.

Proper education and awareness campaigns need to be created if consumers are to understand why they will be asked to pay more for their monthly electricity bills as the last thing anyone wants is a public hue and cry when those charges are implemented in the future.

Judging from the anecdotal evidence so far, I would suspect people would be more than willing to do their part.

Consumers in Selangor have got used to not getting free plastic shopping bags from hypermarkets on weekends and in Penang starting next year, consumers will not be given free plastic bags at all hypermarkets when they do their grocery shopping.

Those are small steps in the large scheme of things as there is already a commitment by the Government to drastically reduce carbon emission intensity per gross domestic product by 40% by 2020.

The drop in taxes and excise duties for hybrid and electric cars is a step towards that as apart from reducing carbon emissions, those cars would also cut down on petrol usage.

The next thing the Government must do properly where it has failed in the past is to get Malaysians to start separating rubbish to help in the recycling process.

Again, proper education is needed to get people to understand the importance of recycling and proper bins and a clockwork schedule would be needed as waste tends to bio-degrade faster in Malaysia.

Incinerators would have to be built as landfills are not the long-term solution. All of these add to the overall cost taxpayers would have to bear to do their part for the environment.

  • Deputy news editor Jagdev Singh Sidhu wonders why today’s music is not as nice as in the 1980s and the early 1990s.

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