Malaysia to lift export ban on renewable energy in accelerated transition plans

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia will lift a ban on exports of renewable energy as part of efforts to develop its clean power industry and boost generation from non-fossil fuel sources, its economic affairs minister said on Tuesday.

The South-east Asian country, which currently generates just over 1 per cent of its electricity annually from renewable sources, banned its exports in October 2021 in the hopes of developing the local industry.

Rafizi Ramli said reversing the ban will help firms build renewable power generation capacity on a larger scale and take advantage of high demand from neighbouring Singapore.

“The creation of a electricity market system to implement cross-border renewable energy trade will put Malaysia ahead as a regional renewable energy hub,” he said in a statement, adding the system will be developed by the government at a later, unspecified date.

He did not specify when the export ban would be lifted.

Malaysia has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions dramatically by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said in March that Malaysia will need to double its investments in renewable power capacity, infrastructure and energy efficiency to at least US$375 billion (S$497.4 billion) in order to achieve that ambitious target.

Rafizi said the government aims to increase the proportion of renewable energy supply to 70 per cent of its total capacity by 2050 in a bid to create new economic opportunities and attract foreign investment. The current installed capacity is 25 per cent of the total, he said.

The expanded capacity would allow surplus renewables capacity to be traded with neighbouring countries, he said.

Increasing renewables energy capacity will require an estimated 637 billion ringgit (S$190 billion) in investment until the year 2050, Rafizi said, including in power generation resources, grid infrastructure and energy storage capacity. REUTERS