Feng Zengkun reports in Eco-Business that district energy systems, a more sustainable way of cooling and heating buildings, could be key to Malaysia’s climate change mitigation plans as it revs up its development of commercial centers and industrial parks. Eco-Business looks at the country’s strategy to adopt the technology.
District energy systems, a more sustainable way of heating and cooling buildings, have been around for more than 120 years, but they are only now getting their day in the sun. From Paris to Singapore and Dubai, more cities are deploying the tried-and-tested technology to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions.
According to UN Environment, a United Nations agency, a transition to these systems can help cities to reduce their primary energy consumption for heating and cooling by up to 50 percent. They also form the central infrastructure for many cities’ 100 percent renewables or carbon neutral targets
In Asia, Malaysia 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. 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. Already, Cyberjaya, Malaysia’s version of Silicon Valley, plans to reduce 21% of carbon emissions by 2020. The Megajana District Cooling System in Cyberjaya has helped Malaysia avoid 4,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions since 2012.
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. More….