Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, Putrajaya, Malaysia
Corresponding author details:
Koh Kai Seng
Heriot-Watt University Malaysia
No. 1, JalanVenna P5/2
Copyright: © 2019 Seng KK, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 international License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
In the past few decades, Malaysia has experienced a rise in economy with steady growth
of gross domestic product (GDP) yearly. As a fast-developing nation, this country is in its final
stages toward the goal of high-income status. This economical and development boost also
signal the rise in energy demand. As such, securing energy sustainability is essential for any
nation, especially for one developing as fast as Malaysia. Malaysia has seen a huge growth in
energy demand for the past few decades, and that growth is expected to continue into the
future. This ever-growing demand within Malaysia has mostly been met by non-renewable
energy sources such as fossil fuels, due to the fact that the nation has an abundance of
availability of these resources. However, the threat of climate change and depletion of these
non-renewable sources has forced the government of Malaysia to look towards alternative
clean energies for future energy security, mainly renewable energy. Many policies
have been enacted to develop and promote the use of renewable energy; researches for
nuclear technology and infrastructure have also been made for the possibility of another
source of clean energy. This report aims to discuss the energy demand and sustainability
development of renewable and non-renewable energy in Malaysia through the projects and
policies enacted, as well as future plans. Nuclear energy will also be covered in the report to
analyze the potential and issues regarding the production of nuclear energy.
Renewable; Non-renewable; Energy sources
The development and sustainability of modern society relies heavily on the availability of energy. As a key input to nearly every other consumptions and production processes, energy is an essential element in determining and controlling growth of every nation through social and economic development, and with it an improved quality of life. With an ever-continuing global modernization, the growth in consumption and demand for energy is expected to follow suit. In 1990, an estimated 1 billion gigawatts were consumed worldwide; in 2014, almost 10 billion gigawatts of energy were consumed . In 2017, the energy demand globally increased by 2.1%, more than double the rate recorded in 2016 . Thus, as globalization continues, energy consumption and demand will grow with it. In general, the sectors of the world that consume and demand energy can be differentiate to: industrial, residential and commercial, transportation, and others . The sources of energy which supply the world’s, and by that these sectors’ demand can be categorized into two main groups: renewable and non-renewable. Non-renewable energy is generated from a source that would eventually deplete.
The most common source for non-renewable energy is fossil fuels; while many in abundance, are of finite availability . On the other hand, Renewable energy is produced from sources that are naturally and continuously replenished. These sources include wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and other natural processes that occur on the planet . In 2015, the World Energy Council reported that oil, coal, and natural gas accounted for 32.94%, 29.20%, and 23.85% respectively to the global energy consumption. Nuclear accounted for 4.44% and the rest from renewables, with hydro the highest at 6.79%, followed by wind and solar at 1.44% and 0.45% respectively . It is clear that the world still relies heavily on fossil fuels to meet its high demand; however, with the threat of climate change due to emissions from fossil fuels, the transition to renewables is vital. As such, there has been a significant growth within the renewable energy sector. The IEA reports that the share of renewables to meet the global energy demand will increase by a fifth each year until 2023, with 12.4% of the total energy demand met by renewables by the end of the forecast period . China and India will lead the swift deployment of solar photovoltaics (PV). Through this, it is expected that by 2040 solar will be the biggest source of low-carbon capacity. In the EU (European Union), 80% of new energy capacity comes from renewables, with wind power to become the primary source of electricity after 2030 from the high growth of onshore and offshore technologies . However, renewable energy is still not able to sustain the high and ever-growing energy demand of the world. It is estimated within the next two decades the global energy demand will rise by 30% in comparison to today. Thus, the energy demand from fossil fuels will still be strong, albeit at a decreasing rate with the expected rise of renewables.
South-East Asia is a region with high energy demand, its energy needs increasing at a rate double that of China ; Malaysia as a developing nation contributes to this. An abundance and sustainable energy supply are fundamental aspects to establish and ensure stable economic growth and societal progression, especially for a developing nation such as Malaysia with a goal towards high-income status. In South-East Asia, one of the fastest growing economies within this region is Malaysia . Between 1990 and 2011, a steady growth at an average of 5.8% annually was observed for Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP). As a fast-developing nation, the growth of energy demand will follow the trend set by the growth of GDP. Within the mentioned period, the primary energy supply has increased steadily; with future energy demand in the next 20 years expected to grow at a rate of 5 to 7.9% annually .
This report aims to analyze renewable and non-renewable energy
demands in Malaysia, as well as its sustainability and development.
Section 2 will discuss the energy consumption and demand of
Malaysia, by sources and sectors. This section will also examine
non-renewable and renewable energies in Malaysia, covering their
current projects and productions, as well as future developments and
sustainability. Section 3 will conclude this report with the nuclear
debate; whether nuclear energy is a viable option as a source for
Figure 1: Primary Energy Supply in Malayasia 2010-2016
supplied as of
2016 (approx.)||50,000 GWh||1000 GWh||2000 GWh|
|Suitability ||Big scale/small
scale for rural
Table 1: General overview of hydro, solar, and biomass energy
The demand for energy seems to be ever growing, especially coupled with the growth of economy expected within Malaysia. As of now, the majority of the demands are met by non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels; due to the fact that there is an abundance of these sources available to the country, this trend is expected to continue within the next decade or so. However, the continuous use of these non-renewable resources would cause vulnerabilities in future energy security and sustainability, on the grounds that these sources would eventually deplete as well as the direct impacts it has toward climate change. The threat of these issues has forced the government of Malaysia to implement policies for renewable energy in an effort to develop and integrate them to the nation’s energy mix, primarily towards hydro, solar, and biomass. Renewable energy is seen as the future of energy generation, not just in Malaysia but globally as well. There are essentially no emissions when it comes to renewables, and its sources would not deplete. While there is progress in the current and for future developments, it is painstakingly slow even with the vast amount of potential Malaysia have for renewables; it seems that renewables will still have to play a complementary role to fossil fuels within the next coming years.
Embracing and developing alternative clean energy like
renewables must take precedence within Malaysia to achieve energy
security and sustainability. While the current development and
policies in regards to renewables are promising, there needs to be
more urgency and awareness for a push towards these energy sources.
Investment towards these energies is vital for the future development
of renewable energy; not just for hydro, solar, and biomass sources,
but other new potential sources as well such as wind, tidal, or even
nuclear should Malaysia decides to one day harness its energy.
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