Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
German Energiewende Exhibition
on 2nd May 2017
Going Green the German Way
Do you believe that industrial progress and sustainable green environment is an impossibility, a mismatch? The German Energy Transition Energiewende has already shown the world that going green sustains and supports the economic growth of one of the biggest industrial nations in the world.
Since its debut in Beijing in April 2016, this ambitious and forward-looking governmental project has been making its rounds around the world as a travelling exhibition and is finally hitting South East Asian shores for the first time with a grand unveiling here in Penang in this wonderful exhibition area until 7th May.
About the German Energiewende exhibition:
The German Energiewende exhibition illustrates clearly and in depth, the German government’s pursuit of a focused and ambitious road map which will see the country derive at least 80% of electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2050. Already, remarkable strides have been made on this front with about 32% of electricity and more than 13% of heating and cooling derived from renewable energy sources. This rigorous shift of the German energy system will rely on three pillars, namely an enhanced usage of renewable energy, improved energy efficiency and the phasing out of nuclear energy. The exhibition will also cover new technological developments such as ‘Smart Grids’. The German Energiewende is the German pathway into a sustainable future that is environmentally friendly, reliable and economically profitable.
Safe and secure ultra-long-term storage of nuclear waste is still unresolved. Many developed countries such as Germany have gradually opted out nuclear power plants. Government's investment on energy efficiency and renewable energy is becoming more appealing and affordable than nuclear power plants alongside policies introduced by their governments. Germany's nuclear energy usage has been reduced to 6.9% in 2016 from 10.9% in 2010 and the last nuclear power plant will be shut down by 2023.
Penang is the first state in Malaysia to oppose Nuclear power energy plants in Malaysia and we will continue to do so. Since 2010, the Federal government has proposed building not one but two two mega nuclear power plants in Malaysia. How can nuclear energy be safely used in Malaysia with our poor safety record when even advanced scientific countries like Japan and Germany are reducing their reliance on nuclear energy?
It is unacceptable that the Government continues to keep the rakyat in the dark over its plan to build nuclear power plants. Given the latest development, we are deeply concerned that the Government is pushing ahead to adopt this highly-controversial energy source as it continues to pay lip service to stakeholders' consultation.
The State Government also has a vision to make Penang a “Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Healthier, and Happier” state. Since 2010, we have kicked start a series of environmental initiatives to promote resource efficiency such as free CAT BUS, No Free Plastic Bags Every day, total ban on polystyrene food containers, giving incentives to GBI certified buildings, building cycling lanes and introduce Link Bike sharing system, implementing Waste Segregation at Source policy. The state government also wants all the state government offices to be certified as Penang Green Office by Penang Green Council (PGC) and complete their carbon reporting by 2020. The local governments are also gradually replacing street lights with LED lightings.
We have achieved the highest recycling rate in the country of 32% as compared to the national average of 10.5% and hope to increase the current recycling rate from 32% to 40% by 2020. We had never allowed logging on permanent forest reserves, not a single square inch has been touched. Furthermore, we have planted more than 271,000 new trees in Penang since 2008.
I am very satisfied that Germany is bringing this informative exhibition to Penang, as part of the celebrations of 60 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Malaysia in 2017.