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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/rser

Wind energy in Malaysia: Past, present and future


Lip-Wah Ho
Faculty of Environmental Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

art ic l e i nf o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 29 March 2014
Received in revised form
19 July 2015
Accepted 24 August 2015

In recent years, the Malaysian government has attempted to develop renewable energy (RE) through
newly introduced regulatory supports after 30 years of failure to achieve a greater than one percent nonhydroelectric RE share in the total power mix. The government is currently assessing the onshore wind
energy potential in Malaysia to determine the possibility of including wind energy in its FiT scheme.
However, wind energy development in this low-energy location is not as straightforward as it would
seem. Many previous wind studies in Malaysia have relied on poor data and simplistic or inadequate
methodologies, resulting in grossly inaccurate estimates of wind potential. Moreover, two wind turbine
generator demonstration projects executed by the government have failed. However, above all, the
greatest factor impairing the progress of RE development in Malaysia is the weak and uncertain political
support of these efforts. This lack of robust support is particularly true where fossil fuels are still heavily
subsidised amid the subsidy reform in 2013. A review of global wind energy development shows that
successful projects depend heavily on a sound and robust regulatory framework supported by strong and
consistent political will. This dependence is not observed in Malaysia, where the government continues
to subsidise private independent fossil fuel power producers but levies taxes on electricity consumers to
fund RE development. These levies do not effectively support RE development, given the magnitude of
the RE fund compared to fossil fuel subsidies. In the absence of strong and sincere political will, the
progress of RE development in Malaysia has been notably slow. As a result, the prospect of wind energy
development in Malaysia currently remains vague. This paper discusses the above issues in detail and
recommends selected regulatory mechanisms based on the global experience of supporting RE development in Malaysia.
& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Wind energy
Energy policy
Renewable energy (RE)
Regulatory and Political framework
Global wind energy
Low wind speed region

Contents
1.
2.

3.

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Past and present wind studies in Malaysia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1.
Previous wind energy studies in Malaysia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.
Wind mapping for Malaysia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Global wind energy development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.1.
China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.
India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.
Japan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4.
Germany. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.
United Kingdom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.6.
France. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.7.
Italy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.8.
Sweden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.9.
Denmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.10. Poland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.11. Turkey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.12. European Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

E-mail address: holipwah@gmail.com


http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2015.08.054
1364-0321/& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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3.13. United States of America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


3.14. Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.15. Mexico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.16. Brazil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.17. Chile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.18. Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.19. South Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4. Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.1.
Political and regulatory support for RE in Malaysia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.
Future of wind energy in Malaysia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1. Introduction
The best way to halt or lessen the impact of power generation on
climate change is through divestment from fossil fuel-related
businesses or drastic reduction in electricity usage. However, such
actions seem impossible without practical alternative sources of
energy and are purposely made difcult by a behemoth fossil fuelbased energy industry that prots and will continue to prot from
the status quo. The economy and politics of fossil fuels, and in
particular the inuence of money and greed, seem to dictate the
future of climate change via control over power generation. Committing to the long, slow process of educating those, who do not
prot directly or nancially from fossil fuel power generation may
encourage some resistance to the status quo, at least where energy
demand is concerned; however, this seems unlikely given that net
world electricity consumption rose from 7,323.36 billion Kilowatthours (kWh) in 1980 to 19,396.64 billion kWh in 2011 [68].
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy usage in Malaysia
have been on the rise since the 1980's [69]. Consequently, Malaysia
has one of the world's fastest growing CO2 emissions rates [48].
The United States Energy Information Administration (2013)
reported that in 1980, 26.330 million metric tons of CO2 was
released as a result of energy consumption in Malaysia (Fig. 1). This
gure climbed to 195.701 million metric tons in 2011 [69]. A
concomitant rise in net electricity consumption from 9.363 billion
kWh to 115.338 billion kWh (Fig. 1) also occurred over the same
period [67]. At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) (Conference Of the Parties, COP 15), the Prime
Minister of Malaysia made a voluntary commitment to reduce CO2
emissions by 40%, by 2020, relative to 2005 CO2 emissions levels
200

Unit (Million Metric Tons /


Billion Kilowatt-hours)

180
160

Carbon Dioxide Emissions


(Million Metric Tons)
Net Electricity Consumption
(Billion Kilowatt-hours)

140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

Year
Fig. 1. Malaysia: Yearly total Carbon Dioxide emissions from the consumption of
energy (Million Metric Tons) and total net electricity consumption (Billion Kilowatthours).
Source: United States Energy Information Administration.

289
289
290
290
290
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290
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292
293
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[31]. This commitment further reinforced Malaysia's ratication of


Kyoto Protocol in 2002.
Since the 1990s, researchers and the government of Malaysia
have carried out wind assessment studies. However, many previous studies and demonstration projects have failed to prove the
feasibility of utilising wind energy in the doldrums that envelop
the country. Recent studies have reviewed past research into this
topic and determined that many previous studies relied primarily
on data collected at local meteorological stations that was unsuitable for assessing wind energy feasibility in a low wind speed
region. Currently, the Sustainable Energy Development Authority
(SEDA) of Malaysia is conducting a comprehensive onshore wind
mapping effort. SEDA Malaysia is a statutory body formed under
the Sustainable Energy Development Authority Act of 2011. One of
the key roles of the SEDA is to administer and manage the
implementation of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) mechanism, including a
RE fund mandated under the Renewable Energy Act of 2011 [59].
The RE fund was created to support the FiT scheme. The current
onshore wind mapping exercise will determine whether wind
energy should be included in the FiT regime. In addition to FiTs,
countries around the world have executed sound and robust regulatory frameworks that support the development of wind energy,
all based on strong, consistent political buy-in. Even with such
support, countries in high to middle wind speed regions face
constant challenges in the process. Malaysia is situated in a low
wind speed region and therefore faces greater challenges in
developing wind energy. These challenges not only involve
selecting the most suitable Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) to take
advantage of existing wind speeds but, more importantly, establishing underlying support through both the regulatory and political framework. Unfortunately, Malaysia currently relies on fossil
fuels for over 90% of its power generation, a gure that is supported by fossil fuel subsidies that have remained even after the
2013 fuel subsidy reforms instituted by the Malaysian government.
Those fossil fuel subsidies are politically motivated and remain the
greatest challenge and entry barrier to RE development in
Malaysia, including wind energy. Likewise, the magnitude of the
RE fund and FiT implementation is sufcient to show the extent of
the governments commitment to maintain the Prime Minster of
Malaysia's pledge. Section 2 of this paper discusses the past and
present wind studies performed in Malaysia. Section 3 reviews the
regulatory and political framework for global wind energy development. Section 4 discusses the issues and problems related to
fossil fuel power generation and RE development in Malaysia, with
a particular focus on the regulatory and political context. It also
reviews the prospect of wind energy development in Malaysia
and suggests possible regulatory supports based on the global
experience. The conclusions are presented in Section 5.

Table 1
Previous and on-going wind studies/development in Malaysia.
Year

Type of study/ Source of Data


development

1990s Onshore wind Malaysian


power poten- meteorological
stations
tial study

Reviews

Mersing and Kuala Terengganu had the greatest wind power potential of all studied stations (annual mean power potential, 85.61 W/m2 and 32.50 W/m2,
respectively)

Seven out of the


ten stations are
near/at an airport
(Table 3). All are
Class 1 wind. Wind
data from meteorological stations
near/at an airport
(in low wind speed
regions) should
not be used for
wind power
potential analyses
No record of the
publication of the
ndings from the
2005 UKM study.
The WTG has
stopped working
VOS data: high
temporal and spatial variation.
Insufcient data to
analyse the wind
energy potential of
Malaysia offshore.
Penang offshore
was not in the
study area
Data shows seasonal variability during the monsoons
Insufcient data to
analyse the operation of the hybrid
system. The WTGs
have stopped
working
The testing was
not carried out by
IMPSA. However,
identied sites
were either highlands or coastal
areas
Station is 300 m
from an airport
runway. The
required land
might be lesser if
higher wind

1995

In-situ testing
Island wind
hybrid system
testing

One WTG was installed in Terumbu LayangLayang (Swallow Reef), located at 72230 N and 1134930 E

2003

Malaysia offshore wind


speed study

Malaysia
meteorological
service (VOS,
oilrigs and
lighthouses)

Kelantan and Terengganu offshore received the highest annual wind speed (4.1 m/s)

2006

Coastal wind
speed study

Megabang Telipot, Kuala Terengganu, 20052006 annual mean wind speed was 3.70 m/s

2007

Island wind
hybrid system
testing

In-situ anemometer
measurements
In-situ testing

2009

Onshore wind In-situ testing


energy poten- (reported)
tial study

Kota Kinabalu, Mersing, Kuala Terengganu and Langkawi Island (identied)

2010

Onshore wind Malaysian


power poten- Meteorological
Stations
tial study

Tawau, Sabah. 5182 km2 land area required to install a 2740 MW capacity wind farm

Two WTGs (hybrid system) were installed at Small Perhentian Island, Terengganu, located at 55535 N and 1024312 E

L.-W. Ho / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

Findings and Results

281

282

Table 1 (continued )
Year

Type of study/ Source of Data


development

Findings and Results

Onshore wind Malaysian


power poten- Meteorological
Stations
tial study

Kudat and Labuan (maximum wind power density 67.40 W/m2 and 50.81 W/m2, respectively)

2011

Onshore wind NASA database


hybrid system for Johor
testing

Johor (hybrid system potential to reduce 34.5% CO2 emissions)

2011

Onshore wind Malaysian


energy poten- meteorological
stations
tial study

Mersing (relatively the most persistent wind speed with the most potential for onshore wind energy)

2011

Island wind
power potential study

Malaysian
Meteorological
Stations

Penang Island (grid connected WTGs are not viable. A small-scale WTG system can be considered)

2011

nil

IMPSA and SIRIM to develop a wind energy programme

2011

Private and
public sector
collaboration
Legislature

nil

Passing of renewable energy act of 2011

2011

Legislature

nil

2012

Onshore wind Department of


energy poten- environment
and Malaysian
tial study
meteorological
stations

2012

Coastal wind
energy study

2012

Solar Energy
Research Institute, UKM
Onshore wind In-situ anemometer
mapping
measurements
(Malaysia)

speeds were used


in the calculations
Both stations in
the close vicinity of
an airport. Low
wind power density found
Data measured at
50 m above sea
level, wind speeds
ranged from1.9 m/
s to 4.0 m/s indicating low onshore
wind speeds
Seven out of the 10
stations are near/at
an airport
(Table 3). Mersing
is a coastal station.
The Bayan Lepas
meteorological
station is 700 m
from an airport
runway (Table 3).
Very low wind
power potential
found
The arrangement
did not work out

Feed-in tariff mandated under this


Act
Passing of sustainable energy development authority act of 2011
Setting up of the
SEDA Malaysia
The northeast, northwest and southeast region of peninsular Malaysia and the southern region of Sabah to be investigated further for wind energy development The identied
areas were mainly
coastal areas
except one inland
spot, northwest of
the peninsular
Malaysia. Data
from the MMD
were used
Estimated off-grid RE cost of USD 0.380.83 /kWh
Data from the
MMD were used
SEDA called for RFPEmergent Venture S/B to produce the onshore wind map by 2016

The purpose of the


wind mapping
exercise is to
determine the feasibility of an
onshore wind FiT.
The study is

L.-W. Ho / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

2010

Reviews

Penang Offshore, from 4 to 6N and 99 to 10030 E: maximum wind speed 10.3 m/s, minimum wind speed 0.5 m/s
Malaysia
Meteorological
Service (VOS,
oilrigs and
lighthouses)
The present
study (Penang
offshore wind
speed study)

2013

2013

2014

Coastal areas like Kota Belud, Kudat, Gebeng, Kerteh and Langkawi Island are the best sites for wind energy generation
3Tier mesoscale
NWP modelling

NWP is limited by
our knowledge of
the physical phenomena and the
availability of data
at a xed reference
frame
VOS data: high
temporal and spatial variation validated. Insufcient
data to analyse the
wind energy
potential of
Penang offshore

Mersing, KualaTerengganu, Alor Setar, Chuping, Melaka and Bayan Lepas were studied
Malaysian
meteorological
stations

Data from the


MMD were used

SIRIM is studying the rst solar and wind hybrid farm. Research outcome supposed to be available by June 2014

Onshore solar
and wind
hybrid study
Coastal and
onshore wind
energy potential study [3]
Coastal and
Island wind
energy potential study [44]
2012

nil

expected to be
complete by 2016
The study is still in
progress

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283

2. Past and present wind studies in Malaysia


2.1. Previous wind energy studies in Malaysia
Table 1 outlines previous and on-going wind energy studies
and development that have occurred in Malaysia. In the early
1990s, a wind energy potential study was conducted for Mersing,
Kuala Terengganu, Alor Setar, Petaling Jaya, the Cameron Highlands and Melaka on the Malaysian peninsula; Kota Kinabalu,
Tawau and Labuan in Sabah; and Kuching in Sarawak based on
wind speed data for 19821991 collected from Malaysian
meteorological service stations located at the above cities [57]. The
wind speeds for the study were all corrected to a standard height
of 10 m due to variation in the anemometer height at every
meteorological station. The study concluded that Mersing and
Kuala Terengganu had the greatest wind power potential of all
studied stations, with annual mean power (W/m2) potentials of
85.61 and 32.50, respectively. According to Table 2, wind power
potential less than 100 W/m2 at 10 m indicates a Class 1 wind,
which is not suitable for wind power generation. However, Table 3
shows that seven out of the ten stations used in the above study
were situated near or at an airport, with the furthest station
located approximately 400 m from an airport. It is noteworthy that
airports are intentionally built in low wind speed locations [51].
The 10-year dataset is attractive; however, wind speed data from
or near airports should not be used for wind power potential
analyses, particularly if the data come from low wind speed
regions. Moreover, data from stations near or at airports are only
valid at close range; any consideration given to the placement of
wind turbines near an airport, even if there is wind power
potential, would be complicated by risks associated with ight
paths and the taking off and landing of aircrafts. Regardless of
these factors, however, [3] disagreed with the conclusions of the
above study because it failed to adequately determine the wind
power potential of the region.
In November 1995, TNB (Tenaga Nasional Berhad) Research
Sdn. Bhd. constructed and installed a 150 kW WTG hybrid system
at Terumbu LayangLayang (Swallow Reef) [61]. Numerous studies
[46,53,9,41,47,4,34] have quoted a 2005 Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia (UKM) study highlighting the successful operation of the
WTG. The WTG was installed to generate wind power and pump
water. Some researchers [41,15] have even claimed that Swallow
Reef has the highest wind energy potential in Malaysia. Unfortunately, there is no record of the publication of the ndings from
the 2005 UKM study. The above studies appear to have repeated
the notion that the WTG operation at Swallow Reef was successful,
not based on their own research, but based on an earlier report of
success [41]. In reality, however, the WTG appears to have stopped
rotating altogether; and resort operators in Swallow Reef currently
rely on private generators for power.
In 2003, data from the Malaysia meteorological service were
used to assess wind speeds offshore [8]. The 19852000 data were
collected from oilrigs, lighthouses, and ships that participated in
the World Meteorological Organisation Voluntary Observing Ship
(VOS) Scheme. The data were presented in monthly charts with a
resolution of 2-degrees latitude by 2-degrees longitude. An
assessment of the data found that the annual offshore wind speed
off the Malaysian coast ranged from 1.2 m/s (Straits of Malacca and
Selangor) to 4.1 m/s (South China Sea, Kelantan and Terengganu).
It would be impossible to measure offshore wind for the entire
ocean surface using anemometers; such a task would be too costly
and time consuming. Nevertheless, attempts have been made. A
few decades ago, offshore wind measurements were taken from
merchant ships participating in the VOS scheme; however, the
VOS data had an inconsistent geographical distribution and varied
in quality. Currently, Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models

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can produce wind information from numerical models but are


limited by our knowledge of the physical phenomena affecting
weather and the availability of data [30].
Malaysia has the 29th longest coastline in the world, totalling
4675 km [2]. Previous studies and reports on Malaysia have
focused on onshore or coastal winds except for one study [8],
which explored the offshore wind potential in Malaysia based on
the VOS data. However, it is important to note that the authors of
that study counselled caution with respect to relying primarily on
VOS data and acknowledged the implications data errors would
have. Furthermore, the study excluded a portion of the Penang
offshore region. It is also important to note that the measurements
taken from ships contributing to the VOS data were not taken at
WTG hub height. Nevertheless, the greatest issues with this study
were the locations where the wind measurements were taken and
the times at which measurements were taken. There were no
consistent locations linked to times when readings were taken
from ships. Therefore, the best image the VOS data can provide is a
composite of momentary glimpses of wind speed scattered across
shipping lanes, often with very sparse or long periods of no temporal and/or spatial data. The high spatial and temporal variability
of the VOS observations suggest that they may not be representative of the wind regime over a medium or large spatial area
or a long time span [7].
In an attempt to validate the above conclusions and ll the gaps
in missing data from the excluded Penang offshore area, the present study obtained a 20-year (19932013) offshore wind speed
dataset for Latitudes from 4 to 6 north of Equator and Longitudes
from 99 to 10030 east of Greenwich. The data were provided by

the Malaysia Meteorological Department (MMD), are VOS wind


speed data, and show that the Penang offshore area is subject to a
maximum wind speed of 10.3 m/s and a minimum wind speed of
0.5 m/s. However, the lack of consistency in reporting by VOS
participants makes it difcult to analyse and estimate energy
production based on these data. At most, the analysis indicated, as
previous VOS-based studies have, the presence of a strong wind at
a particular time and location. This proves that observational data
are insufcient to accurately describe wind conditions in ocean
areas. This conclusion includes buoy observations as well, and, by
implication, the NWP [44] analyses that rely on these data, using a
xed reference frame [50]. Now more than ever, it is essential that
alternative ocean surface wind databases are developed.
In 2006, a wind speed study was conducted based on 2005
2006 data obtained from Megabang Telipot, Kuala Terangganu, near
the coast of the South China Sea [73]. A cup anemometer at a height
of 18 m from ground level was used to capture the data. Wind
speeds were taken every 10 s and averaged over 5 min before being
stored in a data logger. Subsequently, the 5 min averaged data were
averaged over an hour. These hourly mean wind speeds were used
in the analysis. The results indicated that the mean wind speed over
the two years of the study was 3.70 m/s, with a monthly maximum
mean of 6.54 m/s and a monthly minimum mean of 2.04 m/s. The
data showed that the fastest mean wind speeds measured occurred
in January and February, with a peak during the northeast monsoon
season. They also indicated that the wind speeds on the east coast
of peninsular Malaysia vary signicantly from season to season due
to the monsoons.

Table 2
Wind classication.
Source: [45].
Wind class

10 m

80 m
2

1
2
3
4
5
6
7

100 m
2

120 m
2

Density (W/m )

Speed (m/s)

Density (W/m )

Speed (m/s)

Density (W/m )

Speed (m/s)

Density (W/m2)

Speed (m/s)

o 100
100/150
150/200
200/250
250/300
300/400
4400

o 4.4
4.4/5.1
5.1/5.6
5.6/6.0
6.0/6.4
6.4/7.0
47.0

o 240
240/380
380/490
490/620
620/740
740/970
4 970

o 5.9
5.9/6.9
6.9/7.5
7.5/8.1
8.1/8.6
8.6/9.4
49.4

o 260
260/420
420/560
560/670
670/820
820/1060
4 1060

o 6.1
6.1/7.1
71./7.8
7.8/8.3
8.3/8.9
8.9/9.7
4 9.7

o 290
290/450
450/600
600/740
740/880
880/1160
4 1160

o 6.3
6.3/7.3
7.3/8.0
8.0/8.6
8.6/9.1
9.1/10.0
410.0

Table 3
The location and height of Malaysian Meteorological Stations used in the previous studies.
Source: [33].
Location

Alor Setar
Bayan Lepas
Cameron
Highlands
Chuping
Ipoh
Kota Bharu
Kota Kinabalu
Kuala Terengganu
Kuantan
Kuching
Kudat
Labuan
Melaka
Mersing
Petaling Jaya
Tawau

Coordinate

Height above Mean Sea Level (m)

Remark

400 m from the airport runway


700 m from the airport runway
Mountain station

Latitude N

Longitude E

6 12
5 18
4 28

100 24
100 16
101 22

4.0
3.0
1545.0

6
4
6
5
5
3
1
6
5
2
2
3
4

100 16
101 06
102 17
116 03
103 06
103 13
110 20
116 50
115 15
102 15
103 50
101 39
117 53

22.0
39.0
4.6
2.0
5.0
15.0
26.0
3.0
29.0
9.0
43.6
45.7
32.8

29
35
10
56
23
47
29
55
18
16
27
06
16

Inland station
1000 m from the airport runway
At the airport
At the airport
300 m from the airport runway
630 m from the airport runway
300 m from the airport runway
400 m from the airport runway
At the airport
250 m from the airport runway
Coastal station
Inland station
300 m from the airport runway

L.-W. Ho / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

Table 4
Average monthly wind speed for Megabang Telipot and Small Perhentian Island
(2005).
Source: [73,10].
Month

Wind speed (m/s) for Megabang Telipot

Wind speed (m/s) for Small


Perhentian Island

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

4.44
3.47
3.16
2.54
2.24
2.25
2.18
2.13
1.91
2.40
2.38
4.58

7.90
6.85
7.56
6.78
6.91
nil
6.63
7.16
6.88
7.12
7.57
7.88

In 2007, the Malaysian government and TNB initiated a MYR


12.6 million [65] hybrid system consisting of two units of 100 kW
WTG (NPS 100 by Northern Power System), a 100 kW PV array, a
single 100 kW diesel generator set, a 240 V DC 480 kWh battery
bank and a hybrid control system on Small Perhentian Island,
Terengganu. The hybrid system prioritised wind and solar as the
primary energy sources, while the diesel generator was used as a
backup. [10] presents a simple calculation of wind power produced by the hybrid system for one particular day, which is
insufcient to determine the success or efciency of the system.
Interestingly, the wind speed data provided in [10], which was
gathered prior to the installation of the hybrid system, shows
minimum monthly wind speeds near 5.0 m/s and maximum wind
speeds near 15.0 m/s. Furthermore, the 3-year (20032005) average monthly wind speed ranged from 6.639.31 m/s. Based on the
recorded average monthly wind speed for that period and a solid
understanding of the minimum and maximum wind speeds needed for power production, the most suitable WTG for that wind
prole would have generated wind power almost all year long, in
spite of the monsoons' seasonal variability. Moreover, these data
are in direct contrast with the 2005 wind speed data from
Megabang Telipot [73], a site 65 km away and oriented toward the
same northeast monsoon system, which shows a clear seasonal
variability (Table 4). Unfortunately, the mast height and method
for recording wind speeds at Small Perhentian Island during that
period were not provided in [10], making it impossible to compare
the wind speed data in that study with the data from Megabang
Telipot to develop a clearer wind prole for the area. Furthermore,
the development of wind power in a low wind speed region
demands more energy than development in a moderate to high
wind speed region, and therefore the selection of the proper WTG
is very important. Unfortunately, the WTGs at the Small Perhentian Island site have stopped working, and according to unofcial
records, they stopped barely a year after the ofcial launch of the
test project in 2007. If this report is true, the Small Perhentian
Island WTG would be a humiliating disappointment in Malaysia,
representing the failure of both the government and TNB's planning and design efforts, as well as a waste of tax payers' money.
In September 2009, the TNB signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Argentina's giant utility rm, Industrias
Metalurgicas Pescarmona S.A. (IMPSA) to determine the wind
energy potential in Malaysia [4,26,38]. The basis of this collaboration was to form an independent power producer (IPP) able to
harness wind energy at the utility scale [4,32]. IMPSA identied
Kota Kinabalu, Mersing, Kuala Terengganu and Langkawi Island as
potential sites. For the rst time, a meteorological mast 80 m high
was considered to measure wind speed in Malaysia. This mast was

285

selected because IMPSA believed that available wind data from a


10 m mast was insufcient to determine the feasibility of wind as
an energy source [20]. According to IMPSA, it costs between USD
1.82.5 million to generate one megawatt (MW) of wind power,
and they estimated that Malaysia has the capacity to generate
between 500 and 2000 MW of power from wind energy [4,32]. For
a short time, the IMPSA became part of a committee formed by the
Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation tasked
with mapping wind potential in Malaysia and began working with
SIRIM (formerly known as the Standard and Industrial Research
Institute of Malaysia) Berhad to develop a wind energy programme in Malaysia [20]. Unfortunately, the arrangement did not
work out, and the wind programme never materialised. An
important opportunity was wasted, as the 80 m meteorological
mast would have been able to gauge wind speeds near the WTG's
hub height. Moreover, the proposed cost of the project would have
been cheaper than the MYR 12.6 million spent by the government
for the 200 kW hybrid system developed at Small Perhentian
Island.
In 2010, data for Tawau, Sabah [57] were used to represent
typical wind conditions on the east coast of eastern Malaysia [25].
The new study concluded that a total land area of 5182 km2 was
required to install a 2740 MW capacity wind farm. Assuming the
calculations in that study are accurate, the generation of wind
power using such a large amount of land is questionable, even if
technically feasible. Furthermore, as mentioned previously, Tawau
station is only 300 m from an airport runway, and therefore the
wind speed data should not be used for wind power analyses,
unless signicant reports exist that aircrafts there face constant
high speed winds during take-off or landing, which is extremely
rare in low wind speed regions. To date, there are no reports of any
high speed winds disrupting ights at any airport in Malaysia. Also
in 2010, the wind energy potential at Kudat and Labuan, Malaysia
were assessed using the Weibull distribution function [21]. The
wind speed data for 20062008 were taken from the MMD. A
10 m meteorological mast with cup anemometer, hygrometer and
thermometer were used to collect the data, which were later
extrapolated to a higher height for analysis. The highest average
diurnal wind speeds were observed at 3 p.m., with a maximum of
5.55 m/s for Kudat and 4.75 m/s for Labuan. The maximum wind
power density for Kudat and Labuan were 67.40 W/m2 and
50.81 W/m2, respectively. These are Class 1 winds; however, again,
the data for these sites were obtained from stations 400 m from
the airport runway and at an airport for Kudat and Labuan,
respectively. Additionally, though the data were extrapolated to a
higher mast height, the initial collection height was 10 m.
In 2011, HOMER (hybrid optimisation model for electric
renewable) simulation software was used to analyse and determine the most suitable hybrid system needed to reduce CO2
emissions from the southern peninsula of Malaysia [43]. The study
concluded that a conguration of PV/wind/diesel/battery (80 kW
PV, 8 unit WTGs and 50 unit batteries) has great potential to
reduce the region's CO2 emissions from the stand alone diesel
system in Johor by 34.5%. However, the proposed hybrid composition is similar to that of the Small Perhentian Island hybrid
system, though with different units; and the selection of a WTG
will be crucial to the successful generation of wind power in this
low wind speed region. Also in 2011, the persistence of wind
speeds in peninsular Malaysia was studied using MMD data [35].
Ten stations were selected: Alor Setar, Bayan Lepas, the Cameron
Highlands, Chuping, Ipoh, Kota Bharu, Kuantan, Melaka, Mersing
and Kuala Terengganu Airport. Hourly wind speed data from
1 January 2007 to 30 November 2009 were used in the study. Of
the studied sites, the most persistent wind speeds with the
greatest potential for energy production were found in Mersing.
Again, this result is no surprise because seven out of the ten

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L.-W. Ho / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

stations are near or at an airport, while the Cameron Highlands


station is on a mountain and Chuping station is inland. Mersing is
the only coastal station in the study.
A technical review of the wind energy potential on Penang
Island, Malaysia was also conducted in 2011 using data from the
Bayan Lepas Meteorological station [64]. The station employs a
cup anemometer at a mast height of 12.5 m above the ground, or
15.3 m above sea level. 12 Months of hourly wind speed data from
January to December 2008 were used in the study. The windiest
month was found to be December (wind speed of 3.2 m/s), while
the calmest month was in May (1.9 m/s). The mean annual wind
power density was estimated at 24.54 W/m2. Low wind speeds
and power density were again expected because the Bayan Lepas
station is just 700 m from an airport runway and the mast height
is low.
The following year, another study suggested that several
regions such as the northeast, the northwest and the southeast
region of peninsular Malaysia, and the southern region of Sabah
should be investigated further for wind energy development,
based on a map of mean power density over Malaysia [34]. The
data used in that study were obtained from the Department of
Environment and the MMD. Meanwhile, a separate study looked
into the feasibility of using small wind chargers (less than 500 W)
for remote housing electrication [23]. Nine coastal sites were
selected, including Bintulu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Terengganu,
Kuching, Kudat, Mersing, Sandakan, Tawau and Langkawi Island.
The wind speed data were obtained from the MMD for the locations shown in [23]. The results indicated that the cost of RE
production through the proposed system would be in the range of
USD 0.380.83 /kWh (RM 1.433.11 /kWh). Given that these are
isolated, off-grid setups in remote areas, the chargeable cost is still
debatable (especially from a social aspect), as grid-connected users
are currently charged a tariff of RM 0.218 a month for electricity
usage up to 200 kWh [62] and are provided subsidies from the
federal government.
In Ref. [44] criticised some of the published studies [57,3,21,35]
that have used data from the MMD. The paper questioned the
10 m height of each measuring mast (as IMPSA did, earlier) and
the locations of the towers near airports (as discussed earlier in
this paper), ports and populated areas. The paper argues against
the use of data from MMD stations in low-lying locations, in spite
of the low wind speed conditions in Malaysia. Moreover, it was
argued that such MMD stations would record macroscale winds
but not strong mesoscale winds, which would result in the consistently reported, unequivocally slow wind speeds. Therefore, the
reliance on wind data from MMD stations has led to an inaccurate
assessment of Malaysian wind resources. In addition, the extrapolation of wind speed data based on a constant wind shear may
lead to critical errors in wind energy assessment. Based on the
published studies and reports, Ref. [44] even concluded that the
wind energy research initiatives that have been conducted in
Malaysia have not been inclusive enough. Around the same time,
another study published a similar conclusion [3]. [44] found that
many studies used average wind speed to estimate energy production. However, wind power has been found to be proportional
to the cube of wind speed, and WTGs operate within a certain
capacity factor; therefore, energy yield is a better estimation of
wind energy potential than average wind speed.
Finally, SIRIM Berhad recently announced plans to expand its
RE technology to large scale commercialization through an ambitious development of the rst hybrid solar and wind farm in the
country, as well as in Asia. SIRIM was positive that the move would
help reduce CO2 emissions by up to 40% by 2020 compared to
2005 levels, as pledged by the Prime Minister of Malaysia at the
2009 UNCCC in Copenhagen [31]. Unfortunately, the research

results for the proposed project have yet to be published, though


they were initially supposed to be available by June 2014 [55].
2.2. Wind mapping for Malaysia
In 2012, SEDA Malaysia released a request for proposals (RFP)
to develop a wind map of Malaysia. The term of reference (TOR)
highlights the need to develop a comprehensive wind map for
Malaysia to identify the wind power generation potential and
determine whether wind energy should be included in the FiT
regime. The TOR mentions the scarcity of data related to specic
wind power and notes the contradicting research ndings
regarding the wind power potential in Malaysia, though it concluded that there were enough locations with good wind power
generating potential to support the RFP. Importantly, the TOR
requires the installation of wind masts at a minimum height of
50 m to record wind data and necessitates at least 12 months of
full data collection for any study it funds [60].
The SEDA appointed Emergent Venture Sdn. Bhd. (a subsidiary
of Emergent Ventures India, EVI) to conduct the wind mapping
exercise in Malaysia [11]. According to SEDA, seven onshore sites
were selected instead of the original ten mentioned in the TOR,
and a 60 m meteorological mast was used. One station was located
in each stateKelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, Melaka, Sarawak and
Sabahwith an additional station added in Sabah. The masts will
measure wind data for 12 months and the data will be used to
assess the onshore wind energy potential in Malaysia. Prior to this
development, EVI had explored the initial ndings from a twoyear study by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) on wind
energy potential in Malaysia, which was based on data recorded
from ve masts installed by UMT. SEDA signed a MOU with UMT
on this matter. SEDA's wind mapping study is expected to be
complete by 2016.

3. Global wind energy development


By the end of 2014, 369,597 MW of wind power capacity had
been installed around the world (Table 5). Approximately 38% of
the global installed capacity is in Asia, and 80% of that can be
found in China. Asia has been the largest regional market in the
world for seven years in a row [13]. In fact, China has the most
installed wind power capacity (114,609 MW) in the world. This is
Table 5
Global installed wind power capacity (MW) by regional distribution.
Source: [13].
Region

Africa and Middle East


Europe
Latin America and
Caribbean
North America
Pacic Region
Asia

Country

End 2003 New 2014 Total (end


2014)
1602
121,573
4777

934
12,858
3749

2535
134,007
8526

70,850
3874
PR China
91,413
India
20,150
Japan
2669
Taiwan
614
South Korea 561
Thailand
223
Pakistan
106
Philippines
66
Othera
167
Total Asia
115,968
World Total 318,644

7359
567
23,196
2315
130
18
47

150
150

26,007
51,473

78,124
4441
114,609
22,465
2789
633
609
223
256
216
167
141,964
369,597

Bangladesh, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam.

L.-W. Ho / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

followed by countries such as the US (65,879 MW), Germany


(39,165 MW), Spain (22,987 MW), India (22,465 MW) and the UK
(12,440 MW). The progress and development of wind power in
these countries would not have been possible without strong
political and regulatory support. China aims to almost double its
wind power capacity to 200 GW by the end of 2020, and it is
trying to develop wind power in lower wind speed areas closer to
load centres. On the other hand, the wind industry in the US has
been affected by uncertain federal policies that have developed in
a boom and bust cycle. Despite such issues, however, the US still
has the second largest installed wind power capacity in the world.
Germany's wind sector is progressing well, with a total installed
capacity greater than 39 GW despite the economic crisis, weakened legislative frameworks and austerity measures implemented across Europe. Spain was affected by the volatility of the
economic crisis, which has resulted in a signicant slowdown of
installations there. India, on the other hand, is aiming to develop
60 GW of wind capacity by 2022 and a 15% RE share of the energy
mix in the next decade. However, unaffected by the European
economic crises, the UK stands out as the world's largest offshore
wind market, providing 4494 MW of offshore wind capacity,
which is over half of the world's offshore market.
Countries around the world have installed wind capacity based
on sound and robust regulatory frameworks, and backed by strong
political will and support. A comprehensive report of the latest
wind energy developments around the world can be found in [13].
This paper looks at how the regulatory and political frameworks of
relevant countries have supported wind power development.
3.1. China
China is the rst country in the world to have installed more
than 100 GW of wind power capacity. One reason for this can be
found in the air pollution crisis affecting nearly all of China's cities.
China relies primarily on an onshore wind FiT and a recently
introduced offshore wind FiT to ensure the rapid development of
wind power capacity. China's wind capacity is divided into
4 zones, and the current FiT is based on a sliding scale that sets the
highest tariffs for low wind areas and the lowest tariffs for high
wind areas (USD 0.080.10 /kWh). The intention of introducing
such tariffs is clear: to increase the installation of wind power
capacity in lower wind speed regions. Apart from that, a new
regulation has been introduced to control the quality of WTGs
installed through compulsory certication. The National Energy
Administration (NEA) has introduced a system to report turbine
faults and incidents related to quality and performance issues of
the wind energy market. A new regulation has also been introduced to improve transparency in the tendering process, i.e., to
eliminate disruptions to the planning of the central wind energy
project by local governments. Since 2009, local governments have
interfered in the local bidding process by requiring the purchase of
WTGs manufactured in the province; however, this is no longer
the case. The regulation also addresses issues related to dispute
settlements and the disclosure of information for warranties.
Apart from this sound regulatory system, the NEA, State Grid
and Southern Grid are working to improve transmission lines to
enable better electricity distribution. This is designed to enable
wind power to reach load centres more efciently. The Chinese
government is also looking at an Renewable Energy Portfolio
Standard (RPS) to prioritise RE access to the grid. An RPS would be
able to compel grid companies to give priority access to electricity
generated from REs. When enacted, this will be the strongest
policy measure in terms of RE development in China; and it
demonstrates the strong political will and support for RE in China.

287

3.2. India
India was the fth largest wind market globally and second
largest in Asia in 2014, with 60,000 MW total wind power planned
for installation by 2022. Though ambitious, this goal is feasible
because of existing regulatory supports, cost competitiveness and
generation-based incentive benets. In 2008, Indias National
Action Plan for Climate Change clearly outlined a minimum
Renewables Purchase Obligation (RPO) target of 15% by 2020.
However, weak enforcement and non-compliance with the RPO
initially pushed the country off-track from this target. Fortunately,
the new Indian government is keen to promote wind energy and
has introduced associated benets and incentives, including a
penalty for non-compliance with RPOs. At the state level, wind
industry is supported by preferential FiTs, site availability, rolling
charges on the state-owned grid and the banking of excess energy.
Furthermore, a tax-based Accelerated Depreciation incentive (80%
depreciation for the rst year of installation) or a Generation Based
Incentive (INR 0.5 /kWh) can be used for a minimum of four years
and a maximum of ten years to support the construction of wind
projects. The tax on coal was also increased to support the
National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF), which funds innovative projects and research into clean energy technologies. Moreover, wind
projects will be given preferential clearance in addition to full duty
exemption for parts and components used in the manufacturing of
WTGs (201415). The government is also looking at drafting a
National Wind Mission (NWM) related to both onshore and offshore wind power. In particular, offshore wind will be given more
attention through demonstration projects and EU's Facilitating
Offshore Wind in India (FOWIND) consultation.
However, poor nancial health of state level power sector utilities still makes it difcult for these organisations to comply with
the RPOs. This is due to the high cost of nance, which is a challenge the government cannot afford to overlook. It will be difcult
to tap into mass lower wind speed regions when nancing is
expensive. Moreover, the weak grid code together with noncompliance by grid operators and producers has made matters
worse. The government needs to ensure a better balance in the
supply chain through proper import duties administration. Finally,
there are logistical challenges that must be overcome, including
the creation of better routes and means of transportation for
WTGs. Though the new Indian government has shown signicant
interest in promoting wind energy, as well as other REs, many
issues will remain until a coordinated and strong regulatory framework is established.
3.3. Japan
Japan installed 2788.5 MW (0.5% of the total power supply) of
wind power capacity in 2014. FiT in Japan have remained steady at
USD 0.185 /kWh and were recently increased to USD 0.30 /kWh for
offshore wind projects that use jack-up vessels. The FiT programme is assessed on a yearly basis and is offered only for qualied projects, i.e., near Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
approval. This creates an element of uncertainty, as wind developers are not guaranteed a FiT, despite investing millions up-front.
As a result, only those with a very solid nancial background are
normally willing to undertake such a risk. Not surprisingly,
industry players have requested more certainty from the government. In response, the government has sped up the EIA process to
two years instead of the usual four, and it bears 50% of the EIA cost.
The government also created the Act for the Promotion of
Renewable Energy in Rural Districts (APRERD) in 2014. APRERD is
designed to help free up agricultural land for wind farm development. A wind power generation forecasting system for Japan is
also being prepared, which will inform the development of wind

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L.-W. Ho / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

power in years to come. Nevertheless, this progress is challenged


by grid availability and connectivity. Robust regulatory and political supports will be key elements of future wind power expansion in the country, and the government must look into them.
3.4. Germany
Germany was the largest wind market in the EU in 2014. The
country's wind sector is supported by the revised Renewable
Energy Sources Act (EEG) for both onshore and offshore wind. The
act sets clear objectives for meeting RE targets by lowering costs
and diversifying the market players. At the same time, it sets a goal
of 4045% RE share in the power generation mix by 2025, 5560%
by 2035 and at least 80% by 2050. To achieve these goals, a new
target of 2500 MW annual onshore and 6500 MW cumulative
offshore wind energy by 2020 was set. Moreover the country has
developed an incentive scheme to support the initial and operational phase of wind farms, taking into consideration the efciency
of wind power production. Currently, onshore wind power
receives an initial tariff of USD 0.10 /kWh for the rst 520 years
(depending on site conditions) and subsequently receives a basic
tariff of USD 0.055 /kWh (depending on installed capacity, from
2016 onwards). An incentive-based acceleration model was also
created to spur offshore wind development by 2019. Most
importantly, there is legislation that has obliged RE producers to
sell directly to the market and receive a sliding FiT through a
market premium.
However, wind energy development in Germany does faces
challenges related to grid expansion and system optimisation,
particularly related to offshore wind; and regulatory uncertainty
and administrative barriers will remain some of the most important issues moving forward.
3.5. United Kingdom
The UK has set a goal of 15% RE share by 2020 and reached 9%
in 2014. At present, wind energy is nancially supported by the
Renewables Obligation (RO) for projects over 5 MW and FiT for
smaller projects. The RO obligates power suppliers to utilise RE for
a specied portion of power supplied. Renewable Obligation Certicates (ROCs) are given to renewable power producers for every
MWh generated. Presently, onshore wind receives 0.9 ROC/MWh,
while the offshore wind receives 2 ROC/MWh. Power suppliers can
purchase ROCs to full their obligation. In addition, the Energy Act
was passed in December 2013, paving the ways for future RE
support. Offshore wind development has been emphasised by the
creation of related organisations and research grants made available to UK rms in 2014. The UK is the world leader in installed
capacity for offshore wind and generates just under 4.5 GW. This
gure is likely to double by 2020. The Contracts for Difference
(Levy framework) will ensure that future offshore wind expands
by setting lower costs from 2017 onwards. On the other hand,
onshore wind faces challenges, mainly from development consent
received from the Secretary of State or the relevant local planning
authority, depending on the capacity of the wind farm. The former
processes wind farm planning over 50 MW. The most worrying
factor concerning the development of RE, particularly related to
onshore wind in the UK, is political interference. Nevertheless, if
the UK is able to provide a clear long term market framework and
maintain its competitiveness, the offshore wind market will
prosper.
3.6. France
Wind power in France was responsible for 4% of total electricity
consumption in 2014 due to positive political support. The country

has set targets of 19 GW of onshore and 6 GW of offshore wind


power by 2020. A FiT supports the development of wind energy in
France. For the rst ten years of operation, the FiT for onshore
wind is USD 0.092 /kWh and subsequently becomes EUR 8.2
2.8 cent/kWh based on production during the rst ten years. The
European Commission approved the FiT for onshore wind energy
in April 2014, paving the way for uninterrupted FiT support for
years to come. On the other hand, the FiT for offshore wind has
been dened by the winning bidder since 2012. A revision of the
TOR for offshore tenders is currently under discussion. The revision aims to reduce offshore wind costs and development risks.
Nevertheless, further improvements in grid connections for offshore wind farms, including a new premium, are underway
through the Energy Transition Law (ETL). The ETL sets a goal of
32% share of energy from renewables by the end of 2015. Apart
from that, France's environmental law Grenelle II requires REs to
be grid connected through a grid development programme for
each region. Wind energy development consent in France comes
in the form of administrative permits, i.e., at least one building
permit and an operating permit. At the same time, ways to simplify and speed up the long permitting process are currently being
tested. In addition, wind development in France faces challenges
in terms of radar and aviation regulations, as well as long waiting
times for litigation results.
3.7. Italy
Wind power in Italy (8663 MW installed capacity) produced 15
TWh, or approximately 5% of total national electricity consumption in 2014. Italy enjoyed a steady wind energy development up
until 2013, when regulatory changes reduced support for RE. The
changes led to complex legislation, with uncertain rules and an
annual quota for RE, despite the EU's Renewable Energy Directive,
which requires over 17% share of energy from renewable sources
by 2020. Nevertheless, Italy aims to install 12,680 MW of wind
power capacity by 2020. Italy passed a new incentive system for
onshore and offshore wind farms consisting of a FiT for plants up
to 1 MW, a feed-in-premium for onshore wind up to 5 MW (capped at 60 MW annually) and a reverse auction system for anything
over 5 MW (capped at 500 MW onshore wind annually). The
country has an overall aggregate annual spending cap of 5.8 billion
euro for the RE sector, after which the allocation stops. Typically,
wind projects need planning and construction approval; but in
Italy an added bond of 10% of the project value must be maintained until the wind farm is commissioned to qualify the project
for the reverse auction system (for projects that produce 500
650 MW onshore wind). Furthermore, there is a base price for the
reverse auction and a timeframe of 28 months to build the project
if it is accepted. This comes with a possible extension of 24 months
and a tariff penalty of 0.5% for each delayed month. This is not a
long-term framework investors can rely on and therefore has
added to the uncertainties of wind energy development in Italy.
Italy also faces barriers to wind energy development because of
the lack of rm political support, an uncertain regulatory framework and long permitting procedures.
3.8. Sweden
In 2014, Sweden generated approximately 8% of total electricity
consumption through wind power (5425 MW installed capacity).
Wind power production in Sweden has increased from 3.5 TWh in
2010 to 11.5 TWh in 2014. This was supported by the identication
of load centres and the provision of connections to the grid via the
Swedish Transmission System Operator (TSO). In January 2012,
both Sweden and Norway set a joint target of 26.4 TWh annual RE
production by 2020. A trade-based Electricity Certicate System

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(ECS) supports this goal. ECS is a trading tool as well as a measurement of the wind markets within the two countries. Technical
quota adjustments to balance the system can also be performed
based on the RE target. Nevertheless, Sweden must look into
continental grid integration within the EU to ensure long-term
wind power sustainability.
3.9. Denmark
As of 2014, Denmark had high wind power penetration of the
country's total power generation, with 4883 MW installed wind
power capacity (39.1%). The government has shown strong political support by setting a target of 50% electricity from wind by
2020. The installation of new WTGs will take place while old
WTGs need to be decommissioned. Denmark uses a feed-in premium (USD 0.04 /kWh for the rst 24,000 full load hours, a ceiling
of USD 0.09 for the sum of market price and premium, 1:1
reduction if the market price exceeds USD 0.05 /kWh) to support
onshore wind energy development for the rst 68 years,
depending largely on the WTG type and the wind resources
available at the specic location. A tendering system drives the
offshore tariff, which goes to the lowest bid for 50,000 full load
hours. The challenge for Denmark lies in properly regulating the
utilisation of 50% wind power in its power mix, as well as in its
technical capacity to sustainably integrate wind power into the
greater energy system via the grid.
3.10. Poland
Wind provided 4.59% (3834 MW installed capacity, generating
7.184 TWh) of all power generation in Poland in 2014. Wind
energy is the largest source of RE in Poland, accounting for
approximately 50% of all RE capacity. The wind capacity in Poland
depends very much on IPPs. Up until 2015, tradable green certicates and the obligation to purchase electricity from RE sources
has supported RE development. The EU Renewables Directive
target requires Poland to have a 15% RE share in its total energy
portfolio. Based on that, the government has set a target of 15.5%
RE share by 2020 and is working on developing full regulatory
support for this effort. To do so, the tradable certicate system will
be replaced by an auction based system that offers support for 15
years to the lowest bidders. There will be an annual energy purchase from eligible projects depending on demand for RE sources
and a cap on support. Investors will be required to obtain local
zoning approval in addition to any other approval required by the
law. Poland is at an early stage in the development of offshore
wind power, even though it has the highest potential in the Baltic
Sea region. This potential must be followed by regulatory support
related to maritime areas and grid connection. Delays and uncertainty in regulatory support could easily create an investment
barrier and affect the RE share target negatively.
3.11. Turkey
Turkey had 3763 MW of installed wind power capacity in 2014. It
is estimated to achieve 10.5 GW by 2025, double that if the right
regulatory framework is present. Turkey's Renewable Energy Law
sets its wind energy FiT at USD 0.073 /kWh for 10 years, which is
applicable for wind farms online before 1st January 2016. A bonus of
up to USD 0.037 cents for up to ve years is allowed for using locally
manufactured components. The law allows wind power producers
to either enter into bilateral power purchase agreements or sell
electricity to the national power pool. Nevertheless, the State provides an 85% discount for transmission and logistics on its land for
the rst 10 years of operation for new wind farms. The government
has even opened up environmentally sensitive protected areas for

289

RE construction, provided the Ministry of Environment and the


relevant authorities approve the projects. This is one example of
extreme support for the development of wind power capacity. In
terms of development consent, applicants are given 24 months (and
a maximum of 36 months) to comply with all planning and construction requirements. The Turkish Electric Transmission Company
(TEA) determines the annual wind power capacity that can be
connected to the regional grid system.
Some barriers to wind power development include the fact that
Turkey's gas and electric market are not fully developed, and
therefore market prices are not easily predictable. Furthermore,
the TEA annual determination of wind power capacity able to be
added to the grid is difcult to predict. Last but not least, the long
administrative procedures from the central and local authorities
remain a challenge to the industry.
3.12. European Union
The EU had installed 129 GW of wind energy capacity by the
end of 2014. This is sufcient to account for 10.2% of the EU's total
electricity consumption for the same year. In 2009, the Renewable
Energy Directive set a target of 20% RE share of total electricity
consumption at the EU level. The Directive consists of 28 national
targets. However, to achieve the EU's 40% CO2 emissions reduction
target, the European Commission calculated that at least 27% of
total energy consumed would need to be RE-based in the context
of the 2030 Climate and Energy package and thus currently binds
the EU's states to this goal. However, the Heads of state have
agreed to abandon the binding national targets, and new regulatory frameworks are expected to be proposed soon.
3.13. United States of America
Wind power in the US was sufcient to power approximately
18 million average American homes in 2014. Though the cost of
wind power has dropped remarkably in recent years, the boom
and bust cycle inicted by the federal government has affected
wind energy development. The US enjoyed stable wind power
development up until 2012, when the federal Production Tax
Credit (PTC) expired. The period between 2005 and 2012 saw an
800% growth in wind power, with total investments reaching USD
105 billion. The PTC, which provides an initial tax relief of USD
0.023 /kWh for the rst 10 years of a project, has been allowed to
expire several times by the US Congress. Despite that, the US
Department of Energy's Wind Vision Report and Environmental
Protection Agency's proposed carbon regulations are indications
that the US hopes to continue developing wind power in the
future.
3.14. Canada
By the end of 2014, Canada had installed 9694 MW of wind
power capacity, which is equal to 5% of Canada's electricity
demand. The development of wind power in Canada was initially
spearheaded by the federal government and later by the provinces.
A series of sectorial Green House Gas (GHG) emission regulations
were introduced by the federal government, and it may continue
to support further wind power development indirectly. To do so,
the federal government is looking at transmission, grid connectivity, investment in storage and nancing for wind projects. At
the same time, other wind project supporters focus on provincial
regulatory provisions for developing wind power. The wind
industry in Canada is in a good position to capture additional
market share available from the expiration of several coal and
nuclear power plants.

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3.15. Mexico

3.18. Australia

Mexico had installed 2551 MW of wind power capacity by the


end of 2014. It is expected to install up to 9500 MW (8% of the
total generation) by 2018. The Mexican Renewable Energy Law
(LAERFTE) aims to achieve 35% of electricity from RE sources by
2024. In addition, the Mexican General Climate Change Law aims
to mitigate 30% CO2 emissions by 2020. The latest regulatory framework opens the wind market to the private sector. Incentive
schemes such as energy bank, xed transmission and distribution
prices per MWh were introduced in line with the set targets. If
Mexico is able to set annual targets that allow better planning,
monitoring and commissioning of projects, the regulatory framework will be more comprehensive. Mexico also faces challenges
related to the mechanism for clean energy certicates, including
the nancing of projects, enforcement of penalty for failure to
perform up to the binding targets, determining technological
benets, expansion of electricity grid for areas with the highest RE
potential, and sound public consultations.

Since 2009, Australia set an Renewable Energy Target (RET) to


have 20% of RE power generation by 2020. However, the current
Australian Government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott does
not support RE. By turning the tide, wind industry in Australia will
be signicantly depressed. New wind energy investment fell tremendously from AUD 1.5 billion in 2013 to AUD 240 million in
2014 due to the uncertainties. By the end of 2014, Australia had
installed 3806 MW of wind power capacity.

3.16. Brazil
Brazil had 5.9 GW (4.3% of total national electricity capacity) of
installed wind power capacity in 2014. The Brazilian government
aims to utilise wind power at approximately 12% of the national
generation capacity by 2023. In addition to the maturing supply
chain, regulated energy auctions provide the competition to push
for rapid wind energy expansion. This is also supported by the
expansion of transmission lines and a tax exemption scheme for
certain parts of the WTG. On the other hand, a new wind atlas of
Rio Grande do Sul was produced. It includes more advanced wind
resource assessment method to measure wind speeds at 150 m
height, and it indicated that Rio Grande do Sul has 240 GW of wind
power potential for areas receiving wind speeds over 7.0 m/s. The
latest Mexican regulatory framework addresses issues such as
exible environmental licensing process, guaranteed grid connection and tax exemption for some WTG components. However,
Brazil faces challenges in terms of transportation and logistics
related to the installation of wind farms. Furthermore, the supply
chain is threatened by the ability to sustain sufcient number of
energy auctions.
3.17. Chile
Chile had installed 836 MW (2.03% of the country's electricity
demand) of wind power capacity at the end of 2014 though the
Chilean Ministry of Energy reported there are approximately
37 GW of wind power remains untapped. The Chilean government
supports RE development by allowing variable energy sources to
compete equally. RE is able to secure 30% of the total contracts, at
an average price of USD 8 /MWh lower than contracts for conventional power plants. By the end of 2014, Chile's Energy Commission (CNE) introduced block hours into the supply tenders.
There are three blocks according to the time of the day and they
range from 11 pm to 8 am, 8 am to 6 pm and 6 pm to 11 pm (peak
demand). The passing of 2025 Energy Law in 2013 will ensure 70%
of new energy capacity installed from 2015 to 2018, shall from
renewable sources. On the other hand, the Chilean government
must addresses issues such as adaptability of conventional power
plants in light of the rising RE, transmission and grid connectivity
as well as its management, the cap of the RE targets, and importantly, the nancing of wind projects.

3.19. South Africa


South Africa had installed 560 MW of wind power capacity in
2014. Previously, it took them 10 years to install the rst 10 MW of
wind power capacity. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) aims
8400 MW new capacity by 2030. Wind power development in
South Africa is conducted through biddings under the governments RE Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme
(REIPPPP). The procurement for wind power is competitive, at USD
5.5 cent compared to unsubsidised coal-based power at USD
9 cent. The biddings allow the successful wind producers to sell
electricity to the national utility for 20 years, with dispatch
priority. It also considers factors related to price (70%) and socioeconomic (30%). The government intends to provide local benets
such as jobs and community development through REIPPPP. On
the other hand, wind power development in South Africa faces
barriers such as logistical challenges, uncertainty of RE development, grid connectivity and availability, and nance for the procurement programme.

4. Discussion
4.1. Political and regulatory support for RE in Malaysia
Malaysia began its rst RE initiative in the 1980s to provide
non-grid solar photovoltaic electricity to remote areas and rural
communities [39]. In 1999, a strategy for RE as the fth fuel was
studied; and in the same year, the Prime Minister of Malaysia
announced that RE was the nation's fth fuel. By April 2001, RE
was incorporated into the 8th Malaysia Plan. The Malaysia Plan is a
ve-year periodic development planning system that has been
implemented in Malaysia since 1966 (First Malaysia Plan: 1966 to
1970). In May 2001, a Small Renewable Energy Power (SREP)
programme (10 MW capacity) was announced that allowed RE
producers to sell electricity to electricity suppliers. However, the
SREP faced many barriers that caused it to fail, including low tariffs, the non-sustainability of fuel supplies (biomass), a lack of
nancing and insufcient incentives from the government, and
unattractive terms for investors. Wind energy was not included in
the initial SREP. However, by the end of 2010 several RE projects
were reportedly supplying 65 MW to the grid, which was made
possible by changes to the initial SREP programme. The development of RE in the rst decade after it was set as a goal was slow
and suffered from the lack of a proper regulatory framework and
strong political support.
At the end of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (20062010), nonhydroelectric RE was relatively non-existent compared to the total
power generation fuel mix, a mere less than 1.0% [61,40] (Fig. 2).
Notwithstanding this small share of the fuel mix at the end of 2010,
Malaysia aimed to have RE contribute 11.0% [31,39,40] to its energy
mix by 2020. This may be achieved by including hydroelectric
power (5.8% as of 2010 [61]) in the fuel mix, but the controversial
environmental [14,42,72,70,66,1,58,56] and social [66,1,58,71,56,
63,12] impacts associated with the construction and operation of

L.-W. Ho / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

5.6%

1.8%

0.2%

36.5%

55.9%

Oil

Coal

Gas

Hydro

Others (Including RE)

Fig. 2. Malaysia: fuel mix in electricity generation, 2010.


Source: Ninth Malaysia Plan.

hydroelectric dams should not be ignored. In addition, hydroelectric


power is not totally clean or green, as there is a risk of producing
CO2 and methane greenhouse gases if a large amount of vegetation
is ooded when the dam is complete [42,72,70,58]. The impact of
methane on climate change is over 20 times greater than that of
CO2 over a hundred-year period [71]. Therefore, hydroelectricity
does not help mitigate climate change if it results in the ooding of
a forest. In 2010, the controversial 2400 MW Bakun hydroelectric
dam in the state of Sarawak, eastern Malaysia ooded an immense
tropical rainforest approximately 695 km2 (equivalent to the size of
Singapore) [58,56,63,12]. In the US, hydroelectricity is no longer
considered a RE in most states, or by the US federal government
when referring to hydroelectric projects/dams with high environmental impacts [42].
Considering the exclusion of hydroelectricity from the RE
generation mix in Malaysia, the Malaysian government's recent
commitment to drastically increase the share of RE in the power
generation mix and greatly reduce CO2 emissions remains a serious challenge, particularly because the speed of RE development
in Malaysia has been slow and has lacked sufcient commitment
from the government [19]. Malaysia has attempted to develop REs
since 1980; nevertheless, an incremental increase in CO2 emissions
from energy consumption has occurred. After 30 years of RE
development, the less than 1.0% share of non-hydroelectric REs to
the power generation mix appears to be a failure of policies,
programmes, and implementation mechanisms at the governmental level. Given that it has taken 30 years [39] to develop less
than 1.0% non-hydroelectric RE share and CO2 emissions have
increased 627% in that time [69], the government's commitment to
develop an energy portfolio with 11.0% RE in only 10 years and
reduce CO2 emissions by 40% in 15 years [31] can be perceived
either positively, as an extremely aggressive act of political will, or
it can be perceived negatively, raising extremely serious doubts
about the veracity and realistic nature of the aims and political
promises given.
There are two major goals of the energy policy of Malaysia. The
rst aim relates to the economic gain that comes from providing
cheap and reliable energy for development and the attraction of
foreign investments. This is evidenced in a recent comment from
the Prime Minister that, even as Malaysia has faced difculties
narrowing its scal decit, the government is delaying electricity
tariff increases for the sake of businesses [49]. The second goal of
Malaysia's energy policy relates to the social and political gains
that come from providing cheap energy to the entire population,
particularly the poor and those in isolated locations [22]. The
federal government has subsidised fossil fuels as the easiest way to

291

achieve the above aims. While subsidies are useful for many purposes, including the promotion of efcient, readily available
energy, is common around the world; their damaging effects to
the environment often go unnoticed [52]. In the case of Malaysia,
subsidies are used to achieve the two aims above at the expense of
the environment.
If a third aim for Malaysia's energy policy is to be developed, it
should target environmental gains and be given the same importance as the goals mentioned earlier. To generate environmental
gains, electricity should be expensive whether it is generated from
renewable or non-renewable sources so the cost of development is
clear; costs should be put in place to protect the earth's resources,
to curb wasteful behaviour and to increase energy efciency. It is
common knowledge that fossil fuels are not environmental
friendly; and we can only rely on RE for truly environmentally
friendly energy sources. After 30 years of failure to increase the
targeted RE share in Malaysia's power mix, a sense of urgency
must exist to aggressively develop RE. The only fast track
mechanism available in Malaysia is through strong political will
coupled with proper regulatory mechanisms. All major utilities
and mega projects in Malaysia, such as the Bakun Dam and the
development at Putrajaya, so far have been initiated by the federal
government. By the same token, the development of RE would be
more successful if the government makes it a priority. It is interesting to note that the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and the
Implementation and Coordination Unit (ICU), which are under the
direct control of the Prime Minister, supervise the energy policies
in Malaysia [36].
The Ninth Malaysia Plan states that fuel sources for power
generation will be diversied through greater utilisation of RE. The
identied RE sources were palm oil biomass waste and palm oil
mill efuents, mini-hydropower, solar power, solid waste and
landll gas. In addition, potential of wind, geothermal, waste and
agricultural gases were studied [39]. These available resources
indicate that Malaysia is undoubtedly blessed with signicant RE
potential, but its utilisation is still threatened by a disappointing
and insufcient government commitment as highlighted in [19].
The deadline to full the Prime Minister's RE pledge is 2020,
meaning that there are only about four and a half years left to
achieve its goal. This creates an urgent and pressing need to
develop all types of RE in Malaysia. This development is essential
to the creation of a better environment and sound economic
performance where energy consumption is concern.
The government should consider positive externalities and
fund or subsidise RE development. A rational consumer would not
pay for externalities, even if they were to result in added public
benets; therefore, the government, who is supposed to support
the public interest, must take charge. The government should
make every effort to reduce the share of fossil fuels in the power
generation mix by ending subsidies that result in negative
externalities to the environment. This is not to suggest that the
government abandon its social responsibility, but rather
acknowledges that it requires more than cheap energy to actually
improve the socio-economic well-being of the poor and isolated.
Energy should not be produced cheaply to the detriment of the
global climate, as this would create ever more dire situations for
the poor and isolated as climate changes. If the poor and isolated
are to be helped socially and economically, they should be given a
rst-class education and clean, off-grid utilities through government funding and support.
The passing of Renewable Energy Act of 2011 (Act 725) allows
for an improved FiT system [24,16] that will hopefully boost
wind energy development in Malaysia. In fact, FiT is not a new
RE support mechanism in Malaysia; it was rst introduced in
2001 through SREP. However, it failed to produce signicant
increase in the share of RE in the power generation mix by 2010.

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Worldwide, FiT is an effective policy mechanism designed to


promote investment in RE technologies. It guarantees grid connection, and it secures a xed power purchase period (typically
1520 years), which is signicant for initial technological
investment. It also encourages gradual cost reductions for RE
technologies. FiT has been successfully implemented over 40
countries [16] around the world, including in countries such as
China, India, Indonesia and Thailand.
In Malaysia, FiTs are claimed from a RE fund. The RE fund is
made up of surcharges on residential, commercial and industrial
electricity consumers [28]. Currently, TNB, the national power
utility company, and Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd. charge all electricity consumers a 1.6% levy for the RE fund on behalf of SEDA,
with the exception of domestic consumers whose electricity usage
is less than 300 kWh/month [29]. The levy charge was met with
opposition from consumers who questioned the passing off of the
cost of RE development to consumers [28]. There are three major
arguments here. First, relying only on funding from consumers is
not an aggressive enough tactic to support the urgent and proper
development of RE in Malaysia. Nevertheless, it indicated again
the lack of strong political to develop RE, particularly when an
estimated USD 7.9 billion [5] was spent by the government on total
fossil fuel subsidies in 2013, but RE development required funding
from levies charged to consumers at an estimated rate of MYR 625
million per annum [29]. Even in the latest subsidy reform exercise,
the Prime Minister admitted that the main motivation behind the
subsidy reform was related to Malaysia's rising national debt
rather than environmental considerations [5]. This strong and
sharp contrast between subsidising fossil fuels and not nancially
supporting REs greatly contradicts the voluntary pledge made by
the Prime Minister in 2009. This sends the wrong message to the
international community, which has been inspired by the voluntary pledge. The continued fossil fuel subsidies are aiding power
generation from fossil fuels and impairs the relative cost competitiveness of RE. It also enhances the attractiveness of fossil fuel
power generation and thus reduces investment in RE [6].
Second, a rational consumer would not pay for externalities
whether they are positive (RE) or negative (fossil fuels). In this
case, it appears that the development of RE has become an added
burden to most consumers, especially commercial and industrial
consumers who must pay the levy. Furthermore, it is a strange
policy to punish consumers for positive externalities (from the
development of RE) because levies are often perceived as a punishment. This gives RE a negative image when it should have a
positive one. Under normal circumstances, consumers should be
charged a levy when negative externalities are produced from the
usage of a product or service, i.e., fossil fuels. Third, the polluters
pay concept used by SEDA to justify the levy charge was not
entirely suitable, as there is already a gradually increasing rate for
current electricity charges, i.e., the more electricity one uses the
higher the rate they must pay. Imagine a scenario where all
domestic consumers use electricity at a rate of less than 300 kWh/
month and thus are excluded from contributing to the RE fund. In
this scenario, an energy efciency and wastage reduction may be
achieved through domestic consumers; however, Malaysia would
still be generating power with greater than 90% fossil fuel. In this
case, the environmental problem remains while the RE fund
contribution is reduced, affecting the FiT scheme and thus
impairing RE development. In simple terms, this implies the lack
of real funding to support RE development in Malaysia as a result
of weak political support.
In fact, TNB and all of the IPPs that rely on fossil fuel to generate
electricity are the biggest polluters and contribute signicantly to
climate change. Therefore, the polluters pay concept should be
equally applied to them. If there is no polluted supply, the
polluted demand cannot be fullled; thus, polluters involve both

consumers and producers in pollution. As a result, these monopolistic utility companies should at the very least be accountable
to pay for half of the pollution cost or RE fund. In the absence of
carbon or pollution taxes to reect negative externalities, fossil
fuels are under-priced [37]. The externalities are thus transferred
to society as pollution [54]. Furthermore, RE always seems more
expensive due to the false impression that fossil fuels are cheap,
especially when the negative externalities of fossil fuels are not
factored in. Therefore, the government should impose a pollution
or emissions tax on fossil fuels or, in lieu of that, solicit contributions to the RE fund that would be equivalent to such a tax.
RE stems from fuel sources with prices that do not uctuate
according to the market, unlike fossil fuel. For example, neither the
wind nor sunlight can become more expensive due to conicts in
the Middle East. A drastic switch to include RE as the dominant
producer in the power generation mix in the country would
immediately remove many economic/political/social considerations related to the need to cushion consumers from the uctuation of the price of fossil fuel in the market. The right thing to do is
to put a stop to the direct negotiation of IPPs' power generation
deals [74]. Subsequently, when RE becomes the main electricity
producer in the country, the monopoly of TNB should cease, as
there would be no worry about the raw material or fuel for the
RE generation requiring a price control mechanism to keep tariffs
low or at a politically/socially acceptable level. The electricity tariff
will fairer and better reected in the market when there is no
monopoly, but rather open tender and competition supported by
proper regulation. In conclusion, positive externalities should be
funded by the government, but negative externalities should be
levied to consumers; in other words, the RE fund should be funded
by the government and an emissions or pollution tax should be
levied to the producers and consumers of power from fossil fuel.
Linking the RE fund to pollution in the form of a levy is surely not
the most suitable way to promote RE in Malaysia, particularly after
30 years of failure in RE development. Instead, the RE fund should
be subsidised by a reduction in the fossil fuel subsidy.
4.2. Future of wind energy in Malaysia
The failure of WTG demonstration projects at Swallow Reef and
Small Perhentian Island serve as a warning that it is not easy to
install wind power capacity in Malaysia, which is located in an
Equatorial region with low wind speed, monsoons with seasonal
variability and also inter-monsoon periods with limited wind
coupled with high humidity. Previous studies have grossly and
inaccurately estimated the wind potential in this region and have
failed to include all areas, as commented by [44]. The NWP
method used by [44] has demonstrated that wind energy is an
underutilised RE in Malaysia, defying common beliefs that doldrums cannot produce wind power. The current wind mapping
exercise by SEDA Malaysia to determine whether wind energy
should be included in the FiT regime is in line with the Malaysia
plan to include RE in the energy generation mix. However, as
mentioned by IMPSA and [44], a proper wind resource assessment
in Malaysia should consider mesoscale winds rather than macroscale winds. Therefore, the wind mast used in any study should be
high enough to measure mesoscale winds. Recently, Brazil used
advanced technology to measure wind speeds at 150 m height to
unlock greater wind power potential. In light of the low wind
speed situation at the macroscale, Malaysia should use masts
higher than the current 60 m ones. Furthermore, installing taller
masts has been a lengthy process since 2013, but the expected
results by 2016, despite 12 months actual wind measurement
duration.
Regulatory support for RE in Malaysia is still very immature,
though it has been 30 years of RE development. Compared to the

L.-W. Ho / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

rest of the world, the only regulatory support for RE in Malaysia


currently is through the newly introduced FiT. Since the FiT for
wind energy is to be determined by the wind mapping exercise
which is still in progress, it will not be discussed here. However, it
would be interesting to know some of the regulatory framework
from other countries that may be suitable to Malaysia's conditions,
particularly for wind energy. In terms of the wind mapping exercise, SEDA should be given the authority to coordinate the wind
mapping exercise among all the relevant parties, the federal government, state and also local governments to facilitate the consent
for mast installation. Moreover, they should have the means,
through coordinated efforts between relevant government agencies to provide site access, logistics to the equipment used in the
mapping exercise, especially to hard-to-reach places for example,
top of ridges, mountain, etc. Furthermore, tax exemption should
be given for imported advanced equipment benecial to the wind
mapping exercise. On top of that, innovative incentives and grants
should be created for innovation and high impact studies that are
able to measure winds at mesoscale, accurately.
At the same time, if Malaysia is really serious about utilising RE
in its power generation mix, the study of grid connectivity and
integration shall start immediately, especially for identied areas
with high RE potential. In addition, there must be coordinated
efforts from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in
terms of fast and accurate EIA approval for RE projects. On the
other hand, the tax on coal implemented by India and the ROC
used by the UK should be implemented to reect the true environmental and socio cost of the fossil fuel power generation in
Malaysia. Annual RE targets must be set to drive and measure the
RE development effort properly. Last but not least, the RE industry
in the country could not be possibly developed without a sufcient
pool of RE expertise. Therefore, local talent must be nurtured and
retained, coupled with the help of foreign experts and technology
transfer to jump start the RE industry in Malaysia. The development of RE and its purpose relates very much to quality state
education, something which Malaysia is still struggling with.
However, above all, it is back to the question of political support and this is a serious issue for Malaysia. It is noteworthy that
the IPPs supplying powers to TNB have power purchase agreements (PPAs) that are classied. The Malaysian opposition party
has been trying to disclose that but it was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, it is generally known that TNB was forced to sign the
lopsided PPAs [27,17]. The political interference in the PPAs is not
without reason and the late TNB chairman who refused to sign the
PPA at that time, mentioned that to obtain an IPP licence, 30% of
the IPP must be owned by a Bumiputera (ethnic Malay and other
indigenous populations) company [18]. Furthermore, before his
recent passing he had questioned the actual ownership of the 30%
IPP. Such political interference in the power sector cannot be
solved easily and it remains a huge challenge for RE development
in Malaysia. Even after the recent subsidy reform, the government
will still subsidise electricity at MYR 2.4 billion annually. Moreover,
the government has not reformed subsidies to IPPs where an
estimated MYR 812 billion annually is at stake [5]. The nonreformed and continued fossil fuel subsidies to the IPPs are indicating that fossil fuel IPPs are here to stay and the power generation mix in Malaysia will remain approximately the same in the
future. This is a huge entry barrier to RE development.
Last but not least, RE power producers should receive FiT from
the government in the same manner as IPPs or TNB receives fossil
fuel subsidy from the government. The sharp contrast of treatment
between subsidising the IPPs which are private companies and
charging levies to the general public (and consumers) to fund RE
development is really bafing. It only shows the government is
insincere in developing RE or otherwise the CO2 emissions
reduction pledge by the Prime Minister is not being heard by the

293

ofcials. By right, the RE fund should not be funded mainly from


the people but the government. Further to that, the government
should stop using tax payers' money to subsidise private companies which produce negative externalities. As mentioned earlier,
China, the worlds largest wind power producer has to offer the
highest FiT to develop wind power at lower wind speed regions.
Apart from China, many countries in the world are using and
trying sound and robust regulatory supports to develop wind
energy, though they are from high wind speed regions. Therefore,
a country such as Malaysia, which is sitting in the middle of the
doldrums, has to do considerably more than that if the government is serious about developing wind energy. Malaysia is already
lagging behind Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines in terms of
installed wind power capacity. The Malaysian opposition parties
are worried about the government's transparency and trust in the
subsidy reform, particularly about corruption and wastage from
maintaining white elephant projects [5]. In this case, any installed
WTG that is not rotating can be considered white elephant. The
debate remains and the future of wind energy in Malaysia remains
vague, for now.

5. Conclusions
Following conclusions can be drawn from this review:

 Many previous wind energy studies in Malaysia are grossly


inaccurate and are not sufciently comprehensive.

 Wind speed data from or near airports should not be used for




wind power potential analyses, particularly if the data come


from low wind speed regions.
The high spatial and temporal variability of the VOS observations suggest that they are not representative of the wind
regime over a medium or large spatial area or a long time span.
The current wind mapping by SEDA Malaysia should measure
the mesoscale wind by using more advanced and higher wind
mast.
Review on global wind energy development found successful
installation of wind power capacity depends very much on
robust regulatory support and strong political will, something
that Malaysia is still lacking and uncertain.
The power generation in Malaysia is still heavily dependant on
fossil fuels. Though the importance of RE has been long stressed
but development is slow. Overall, based on current energy
policies and implementation, fossil fuel will continue to dominate the power generation in Malaysia for a long time. This is
especially true when there is continued political interference
and strong support for the fossil fuel power generation.
The government must sincerely fund RE development in an
aggressive manner, with a sense of urgency and strong political
will if it is serious in reducing CO2 emissions as pledged by the
Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Acknowledgements
The author greatly appreciates the constructive comments from
the anonymous reviewers and the editorial team. The author
would also like to thank Ibrahim S. for going through the rst draft
of the paper, Che Omar C.M. for the encouragement related to the
research, Abdullah A.M. for the brief supervision of the research,
and those who have helped improve this paper.

294

L.-W. Ho / Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 53 (2016) 279295

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