It is high time that we look into renewable sources of energy. It is one way to cut carbon emission and also a way to conserve our environment. It will do our economy wonders too.
Green industries will be the future engine for economic growth, like what IT has done the last 2 decades.
For Malaysia to move up to become a higher income country, perhaps we should give incentives for the research and setting up of green industries.
Among the most important of all green industries is perhaps harnessing renewable energy sources and store them as electricity for use.
In other words, we need to look into the production of electricity using renewable sources such as wind, solar energy and water. We need to develop technology to store these energy for use too.
One source of renewable energy that is gaining importance is the wind energy.
In May last year, when I drove around South Australia near Cape Jarvis, I saw so many wind turbines along the country road that I drove. In UK, off shores wind turbines are being installed to harness wind energy to produce electricity.
This is in Wikipedia:
At the end of 2008, worldwide nameplate capacity of wind-powered generators was 121.2 gigawatts(GW)., which is about 1.5% of worldwide electricity usage; and is growing rapidly, having doubled in the three years between 2005 and 2008. Several countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration, such as 19% of stationary electricity production in Denmark, 11% in Spain and Portugal, and 7% in Germany and the Republic of Ireland in 2008. As of May 2009, eighty countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.
Malaysia has plenty of sunshine and winds. Wind power is plentiful during the monsoon. We should channel our resources, following the examples of small nations such as Denmark , to develop alternative energy sources usnig wind turbines and developing better Solar panels for solar energy.
We should give incentives to companies to develop this alternative energy production. Maybe it is a good idea to let smaller companies spearhead this research and production. In any case, these companies should be allowed to sell their energy directly to consumers..
One disadvantage of wind energy is that the electricity generated is non-dispatchable, meaning that the energy cannot be turned on and off on demand.
This brings us to the subject of energy storage. This is one area which has vast potential , how to store energy and convert non dispatchable energy to dispatchable..
In hindsight, we should have used part of our petrol dollar to finance all these energy research, set up energy research centres, like how SIngapore set up their biotech research, and if necessary, use the petrol money to employ world class researchers to come and perhaps lure back some of our migrated fellow Malaysians to man these research centres.
Alas, we have missed the boat. But it is still not too late to use the petrol (or natural gas ) dollar to set up these centres..