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Harnessing ocean resources for sustainable energy transitions — Izyan Munirah Mohd Zaideen and Mohd Faizal Ramli

Monday, 19 Sep 2022 8:48 AM MYT

SEPT 19 — Malaysia is geographically privileged in that it is surrounded by the sea.

Malaysia’s wide coastline, on the other hand, provides the crucial conditions for harvesting renewable energy from the ocean resources.

Given the shifting fuel prices on the global market, renewable energy is the best option.

Marine renewable energy is a catch-all term for anything that generates renewable energy in the ocean.

Marine renewable energy, which includes tidal, wave, ocean thermal, and salinity gradients, offers significant power generation potential. Thus, the government and stakeholders must explore the utilisation of renewable energy from the marine environment.

Marine renewable energy has huge potential to contribute to a more sustainable energy transition. The energy transition focuses on achieving energy security, economic prosperity, and environmentally sustainable development.

Energy transition was already on politicians’ agendas, and governments have perhaps enacted a number of legislation and promoted the development of renewable energy.

The energy transitions need strategic planning that cuts down on waste and improves the way energy is made in a way that is sustainable. It also aligns with worldwide initiatives to speed the shift to renewable energy sources in order to combat climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, the adoption of renewable energy symbolises a nationwide transformation effort aimed at preserving environmental sustainability.

Marine renewable energy, which includes tidal, wave, ocean thermal, and salinity gradients, offers significant power generation potential. — Picture courtesy of Freepik

In reality, the fundamental cost of conventional energy is higher than that of renewable energy. At first glance, renewable energy looks to be more expensive than conventional energy.

When the complete energy supply chain is considered, renewables surpass traditional energy in terms of cost. Renewable energy also minimises pollution in the air, water, and soil, conserves resources, and takes up less space.

Clearly, renewable energy installations can be easily deconstructed and recycled at the end of their lives, whereas societies around the world are burdened with financial liabilities resulting from the use of conventional energies such as nuclear and coal, as well as environmental damages resulting from uranium and coal mining and radioactive waste storage.

The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, through the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA), finalised the Malaysia Renewable Energy Roadmap 2035 in 2021 to promote and steer the industry toward meeting renewable energy targets and developing low-carbon energy sectors.

SEDA’s dedication and effort, in accordance with our national vision, not only assists with environmental sustainability but also provides value to human resource and renewable energy development while giving economic benefits to the nation.

However, a long-term renewable energy transition cannot be accomplished by just putting technology in communities and expecting people to embrace it.

A social movement that brings together technological solutions with political, economic, social, and cultural changes in energy resources is an important part of a successful energy transition.

Incentives from the government and help from the private sector are important for exploring the technology. To attain its goal, Malaysia’s government should seek engagement with the business community.

A coordinated plan among multiple stakeholders to ensure appropriate technological, economic, environmental, and political conditions for the growth and sustainability of marine renewable energy in Malaysia might be accelerated.

As a starting point, investments in marine renewable energy should be directed toward the individuals who utilise and accept these resources, as well as public acceptance and engagement from potential end users.

Malaysians should be motivated to voluntarily decarbonise by adopting more energy-efficient appliances. Efforts should be undertaken across the nation to increase public knowledge about the role of renewable energy in generating regional energy solutions, as well as to encourage community-based participation in long-term energy transformation.

*Izyan Munirah Mohd Zaideen is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Maritime Studies, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and Captain Mohd Faizal Ramli is an EHS Marine Specialist in the Oil and Gas sector.

**This is the personal opinion of the writers or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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