Gleaning lessons from a leading eco-friendly city

2/1/2011 — New Straits Times
A study will be conducted on how renewable and alternative energy is produced in Abu Dhabi to see if the technologies can be implemented in Malaysia.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Abu Dhabi had expertise in the area, particularly in the development of Masdar City, reputed to be one of the most sustainable cities in the world, with innovation and commercialisation of renewable energy and clean technologies.
“Abu Dhabi has emerged as a leading global hub for innovation and renewable energy, clean technology and the environment. We are keen to learn about the technologies used and see if they can be used in Malaysia.
“We are also interested to know more about UAE’s experience in nuclear energy development,” he said at the end of his working visit to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
The prime minister was here to open the Invest Malaysia 2011 forum and had witnessed the signing of the Malaysia-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) framework agreement on economic, commercial, investment and technical cooperation.
The agreement, which is a pre-cursor to a free trade agreement (FTA) between Malaysia and the six GCC countries — UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait — reflects the enhanced economic relations between the two parties .
Najib had wrapped up his working visit of Abu Dhabi with a tour of Masdar City on Sunday to see first hand Abu Dhabi’s sustainable urban development.
He was given a tour by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the chief executive officer and managing director of Masdar.
Najib’s entourage comprised International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri abdul Taib Mahmud, senior government officials and senior representatives of government and private agencies.
Najib and Al Jaber also discussed how the two nations could collaborate to innovate and commercialise renewable energy and clean technologies.
Najib said the study would consider the costs of producing renewable energy from sources like the sun and wind.
“Malaysia is not a very windy country but there are the east coast states and Sabah and Sarawak which have strong winds.
“The stronger the wind, the lower the cost.
“We would like to know, for example, how much is the cost of (producing) solar energy per kilowatt hour and whether it could be produced through the national power grid.”
Masdar is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mubadala Development Corporation, the investment vehicle of the Abu Dhabi government which is dedicated to UAE’s long-term vision for the future of energy.
Meanwhile, the East Coast Economic Region, one of the agencies participating at the Invest Malaysia forum, said some RM2 billion worth of investments for the region was expected to come from the Middle East this year.
ECER Development Council chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John, a panel speaker at the forum, said ECER and several potential investors from the Middle East had discussed several areas of interest beneficial to both parties.
“They are interested in the halal industry, tourism and agriculture, particularly livestock and fisheries. We expect some positive developments from the discussions,” he said in his address at the forum.
At a press conference later, Jebasingam said Middle Eastern investors were keen to explore ECER’s five economic clusters.
Besides tourism and agriculture, the others are oil, gas and petrochemical, manufacturing and education.
Jebasingam said one of ECER’s key attractions was the Special Economic Zone which would act as a catalyst for focused economic growth in the region.
Among the projects are the palm oil industrial cluster, mainland coastal tourism development of Pantai Sepat, Cherating and Kijal, Gambang Halal Park, Pekan Automotive Industrial Park, Kerteh Polymer Park and Kuantan Port City.