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$100 million SE Asian green energy fund and a Malaysian smart grid will drive regional innovation.
Malaysia and Japan-based Asian Energy Investments Pte Ltd. have created a $100 million investment ‘mega fund’, which will seed promising green energy innovations in Southeast Asia. It is hoped this will accelerate the development of renewable energy products and businesses in the country and wider region.
The fund will focus on investments in small to mid-size technologies and enterprises. A new Malaysia-based fund management company – Putra Eco Ventures Inc. – will channel the investments and provide business consultancy services to green technology companies.
The announcement was made at a San Francisco meeting of the Malaysian Prime Minister's Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council, created in 2011 through a partnership between Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology and the New York Academy of Sciences.
“We hope to […] transform Malaysia into a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy that is environmentally friendly while aiming to join the ranks of developed nations", said Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Dr. Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, believes market-driven decarbonisation will support the technologies and companies developed through the fund. “Demand for these products and businesses will be again driven by consumer convenience, cost advantage and environmental necessity, and logic dictates that they will eventually trump non-renewable fossil fuels in global markets short years or decades from now."
The fund management company will also be charged with helping revive Malaysian biodiesel plants left idle after sharp increases in the price of crude palm oil, on which the plants used to depend for feedstock. The idea is to use cheaper alternatives, such as municipal waste and palm oil waste. The Malaysian Government plans for 5.5% of the country’s total generating capacity to come from renewable sources by 2015.
Under a second, parallel agreement announced between General Electric, Green Tech and Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Malaysia's main energy provider, the country will also accelerate the development of its smart grid programme, establishing a national policy and regulatory framework for it.
According to Jerry Hultin, former President of the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, green energy is an important investment for emerging economies, simultaneously promoting environmental interests, energy security, entrepreneurship, human capital and prosperity. – Duncan Jefferies
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