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Malaysia embraces district energy

The Malaysian government has embraced district energy as a means of powering its emerging economy, while simultaneously helping the country reduce its emissions.

The country has teamed up with UN Environment to boost the use of district energy in Iskandar Malaysia, a growth region in southern Malaysia, and other parts of the nation of 30 million people, according to Eco-Business website.
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In April 2017, the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and the UN Environment-led District Energy in Cities Initiative announced that they would develop planning guidelines and other policies to encourage the installation of district energy systems in Iskandar and elsewhere in Malaysia.

Experts from the District Energy in Cities Initiative will contribute their expertise in barrier and opportunity analysis, technical assessment, identification of regulatory gaps and development of initial strategies to unlock Iskandar and Malaysia’s district energy market and outline the technology’s potential use.

The initiative consists of 38 public and private partners, including non-government groups, industry associations, utilities, manufacturers and firms such as the French energy company ENGIE Group, as well as 45 cities across the world. It is helping six other countries, namely China, Chile, India, Morocco, Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, to adopt the technology or improve their systems.

Malaysia now has several district cooling systems, including its largest one in Cyberjaya, a town with a science park in the west coast state of Selangor. That system, called the Megajana District Cooling System, was built by ENGIE and Malaysia’s Pendinginan Megajana Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of tech hub enabler Cyberview Sdn Bhd.

According to a 2013 report by the Asian Development Bank, Malaysia could triple the scale of its district cooling industry to a built-up capacity of 575,000 refrigerant tonnes, the equivalent cooling load of up to 12 million square metres of commercial floor space.

District energy systems could help Malaysia to achieve its Paris Agreement pledge to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 45 percent by 2030, and cut 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2020.