Renewable Energy (RE)
is Malaysia's Goal by 2005 to generate 5%
of its electricity from renewable resources. Malaysia introduced
renewable energy as the country's fifth (5th)
is renewable energy?
energy includes resources that are constantly present, which never
run out, like the energy we get from the sun or energy from wind.
Types of renewable energy are;
(i) Solar: The Earths' surface receives
so much solar energy from the sun everyday, that if this energy
is harnessed for even just 60 seconds, it would be enough to power
the world's total energy requirements for a year. Even though solar
energy is a free and unlimited resource, it is hardly utilised because
of oil which is cheap and easy to produce. Solar energy is currently
most used for water heating. It can be directly converted to electricity
through solar cells. These non-polluting solar cells, known as photovoltaic
cells use no fuel, mechanical turbine or a generator. Solar energy
has enormous potential as a resource of clean and unlimited electricity
around the world and with the increasing demand for energy coupled
with increasing environmental pollution from the burning of fossil
fuel, its time to tap into this. In Malaysia, installation of solar
PV cells is done mainly in rural areas, where there is difficulty
setting up electricity cables or it is used by individuals (private
Hydroelectric: Hydroelectric power is
the leading source of renewable energy. It provides about 97% of
all electricity generated by renewable energy sources worldwide.
Water is a precious resource and can be found in abundance. When
it is harnessed for hydroelectric energy, it can power the lighting
for entire cities. The only time a hydropower facility is polluting
is during its construction. Once it has been built, it does not
need fuel to produce electricity. But the idea or use of hydropower
is a highly debatable topic and remains a controversial issue. Despite
being a source of clean electricity, the damage caused by dams during
its construction and through its operation often gives rise to it
construction being protested (refers mainly to large dams). When
done right however, small run-of-the-river hydropower can be a sustainable
and nonpolluting power source. Here in Malaysia, hydropower is used
for water supply, flood control, irrigation and recreation purposes.
Malaysia has abundant hydropower potential with a total potential
capacity of 29,000 MW (with 70% in Sarawak).
Wind: Wind energy is captured by wind
turbines. Studies done in Malaysia indicated that only a few places
in the East Coast have sufficient wind energy for utilization. Malaysia
has wind turbines installed in remote areas in Sabah and Sarawak.
Biomass: Biomass consists of organic
matter that makes up plants. Biomass energy can be used for generating
electricity, transportation fuels and chemicals. The type of biomass
material considered to have potential as renewable energy sources
here in Malaysia include residues from palm oil, rice mills and
Hydrogen: Hydrogen is the most abundant
element on earth. It does not occur naturally as gas and needs to
be first separated from other elements before it can be burned as
fuel or converted to electricity.
Geothermal: Geothermal energy taps
Earth's internal heat for electric power production and for the
heating and cooling of buildings. Geothermal energy is produced
when groundwater (from Earth's surface) meets molten magma. Most
of this groundwater remains deep underground, trapped in cracks
and porous rock while some water does escape back to the surface
forming hot springs and geysers. The portion that remains underground
exists as geothermal reservoirs close to the surface and can be
easily tapped for power generation.
is it important?
energy we use today comes mainly from non-renewable sources such
as coal, oil, natural gas and uranium, all of which are finite resources
and will be depleted. Additionally, the use of these types of fuel
are damaging to our health and to the environment. Renewable energy
on the other hand has the potential to produce clean energy for
our use, for all time for everyone. Renewable energy systems help
reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are being recognised as a major
source of energy for the 21st century and beyond.