By ZAZALI MUSA
BATU PAHAT: Malaysia may consider green energy from the palm oil industry as an additional power source to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the 411 palm oil mills in the country were potential independent power producers (IPPs) of green energy.
He said the mills could generate energy from palm oil mill effluent (POME) as biogas and other biomass as green energy, which could then be sold to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).
Palm oil mills in rural areas could assist in the Government’s effort to supply electricity to people there, Dompok said after visiting the Bell Eco Power Sdn Bhd biogas plant in Parit Ju near here.
He said unlike in the peninsula, which has enough electricity supply from fossil fuels-run power plants, and Sarawak from hydro power, Sabah could look at palm oil mills as a source of electricity.
It would be more economical to utilise the mills as producers of green energy as most of them were located in the interior parts of Sabah, Dompok said, adding that the Government would assist the mills to connect to the electricity grid.
It is also the first RE producing green electricity for TNB’s open ring system.
Dompok said the green IPPs could also assist the country to produce electricity that was sustainable and renewable.
He said that apart from funding, the Government should also consider increasing the tariff on green energy from 21 sen per unit to between 29 sen and 40 sen.
Dompok said the low tariff was the main reason oil palm producers were not keen to become green IPPs, as the initial capital needed to set up a power-producing plant was high.