A LoyarBurok column penned by Malaysian youths who believe we deserve a sustainable future, achievable through a lot of empowerment, a little sacrifice, and information for all.
The recent announcement that Malaysia plans to have its first nuclear plant by 2021 has drawn criticism from many quarters. But what are you and I, everyday household consumers, ready to contribute towards a greener and safer energy? In this first instalment, Green Inks pens some suggestive suggestions.
The government announced Malaysia to have its first nuclear plant by 2021. The sightings of the word NUCLEAR, as with COAL, or to a certain extent, DAM, drew criticisms from various parties. Some questioned the social and environmental impact of the Nuclear plant, some concerned over how the waste are dispose, while many wondered if Malaysia – notorious for its poor maintenance record and quality of infrastructure – is ready to operate and maintain a nuclear plant.
Various external factors contributed to the proposals to build the nuclear plant and other coal plants. While our reserve margin is high, at 40% now, there could come a day, in not so far future, Malaysia might have to start importing natural gas. With heavily subsidised gas made up more than 60% of contribution in our energy mix, it will become uneconomic to continue producing energy from the more expensive imported gas should that day arrive.
Malaysians challenged the seemingly lack of interest by TNB to increase use of renewable energy in our energy mix. We also question why renewable energies, such as solar and biomass failed to take off at a commercial scale, when Malaysia is blessed by the all year round sunlight, and with Malaysia’s main economic activity of palm oil, generating a huge stockpile of bio waste as fuel source for biomass. While we question all that, are we ready to ask ourselves:
What you and I, normal household consumers, would contribute in this battle for greener energy?
Are we willing to pay extra for our electricity? Look no further than at the general response whenever there is a plan on electricity tariff hike to learn that we are not ready. Let us not be hypocrites, we want cheap energy. Who cares about climate change (well, at least I know I do, and many I know do too), if we can get cheap energy.
Wait a minute, we are getting cheap energy? Our household tariff is averagely RM0.25/kWh, compared to RM0.29/kWh, RM0.51/kWh and RM0.90/kWh for Thailand, Singapore and Philippines respectively.
Our low energy cost reduces the incentive for us to conserve energy. Look around, how many empty rooms with lights on? How many times you complain your room is icy cold and yet you set your air-conditioner temperature at 16’C? When you stay in a hotel room, do you ask for that extra keycard just to keep your air conditioner running while you are out? It’s ok to keep your room comfortably cooled, but do you have to keep that television turned on? And what about the bathroom lights?
In 2007, household and commercial sectors made up approximately 50% of total energy consumed in Malaysia. We can choose to create a more energy efficient household by using more efficient electric appliances. Ask yourself, are you using energy efficient light? What is the energy rating of your air conditioning unit and your refrigerator? A study showed that technology today can reduce household energy consumption by up to 60%*. This is the lowest hanging fruit in the battle to reduce energy consumption.
It’s common sense to use electricity wisely. Some simple measures can translate to less power needed to be produced, which translate to less power plants needed to be built, which translate to less distress to mother earth. More importantly, translate to lower energy bills at the end of each month for you.
The weather in town is so hot lately, it is just normal for us to blast that air conditioning unit to full the moment we step into our room. Well, why not make use of the weather, turn off the air conditioning unit (or at least set it warmer), shed the clothes, get close to your other half, you may get a little surprise.
Come on people, Go NUDE, not NUKE, not now.
* Energy Efficiency in Residential Sector, Malaysian – Danish Environmental Cooperation Programme; CK Tang; Mar 2005
For more information on household energy efficiency visit – www.switch.org.my – a joint campaign by FOMCA and Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water.
See Also the article that set off the conception of LB’s Green Ink column:
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