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Sabah companies urged to take up green tech fund
Published on: Sunday, March 02, 2014
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Kota Kinabalu: More companies, especially those based in Sabah, are encouraged to take up soft loans from the remaining RM1.8 billion federal allocation to carry out projects or businesses related to green technology.Energy, Green Technology and Water Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said there was a lukewarm response to the financing scheme for green technology, which was allocated a total of RM3.5 billion four years ago.

Of the RM3.5 billion, he said, a total of RM1.7 billion had been spent through soft loans via banks for the private sector to venture into green technology since 2010.

"We are not satisfied with the response so far. There is still RM1.8 billion available for companies, especially those in Sabah, which are keen to develop such technology and renewable energy like biomass and biogas.

"At the same time, we need banks to support the green initiative by providing similar loans to interested companies and individuals.

Currently, there are only few banks providing such loans," he said in a press conference after opening a one-day seminar, entitled "Sabah Towards Green Growth", organised by his ministry, here, Saturday.

The main objective of the seminar was to disseminate latest information on current policies and development pertaining to the green technology sector in the country.

Some 200 people comprising mostly government officers, private sector employees and representatives from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) participated in the seminar.

"The seminar also serves as a platform to share experiences in the development of the technology in Sabah," said Mahdzir.

Also present were State Deputy Secretary Datuk Joseph Guntavid, the ministry's Secretary-General Datuk Loo Took Gee and Deputy Secretary-General Datuk Nor'Ani Abdul Wahab.

Mahdzir said most of the takers of the RM1.7 billion loans were companies that ventured into solar power generation through the FiT scheme.

In the effort to encourage utilisation of renewable energy for generation of electricity, Mahdzir said the Government has also empowered Malaysia's Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) initiative that will allow generators of renewable energy to earn good profits from their investments when the energy is connected to the national grid.

"The FiT initiative was extended to Sabah from January 1, this year," he added.

As of Dec 31, last year, Sabah contributed a total of 36.5-megawatt (MW) of renewable energy out of 149.78MW connected to the national grid, which is seen as a big contribution to reduce dependence on fossil-based fuel.

"Takers of the RM1.7 billion loans are active in generating biomass energy from the oil palm industry but they have yet to explore generation of solar energy, and I hope there would be takers on this here in the coming years.

"In fact, the surcharge is 1.6 per cent from the total electricity used, which is very low compared to other developed countries that can go up to five to six per cent, to cover the FiT paid by the consumers for renewable energy.

"For example, if your electricity bill is RM100, the surcharge is RM1.60 to be paid to cover the FiT scheme while able to sell generation of electricity and get paid at high rates to the electricity provider," he said.

On FiT quota (in the form of MW), Mahdzir said the Government through the ministry has yet to set the quota in Sabah for generation of solar power but believed it will be decided since the FiT initiative has been extended to Sabah.

On achievement of renewable energy in the country, Mahdzir said he noted that generations of solar power, biomass and biogas are the three sectors of such generation of energy that have shown progress and development.

According to him, the Government through the ministry is committed to enhance green practice lifestyle and applications of green technology in the country, including giving incentives to the private sector venturing into the energy sector as announced in National Budget 2014.

Meanwhile, Guntavid said the State Government has recently set up a Green Technology Committee at State level, involving all relevant government departments and agencies, to ensure the national green agenda in the State is successfully implemented and achieved.

He said the committee convenes a meeting at least three times a year and submits reports to the ministry.



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