November 16, BONN, GERMANY – A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) has been sealed by Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, Chief Executive of Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and Martina Otto, Head- Cities Unit, UN Environment. The announcement was made in the joint statement issued by UN Environment and IRDA.
The MoU’s objective is to ensure the relevant global best practices are shared effectively and lead to concrete projects and policies to meet Malaysia’s Paris Agreement pledge in reducing its greenhouse emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and cut 32 million tons of carbon emissions by 2020 as well as Iskandar Malaysia target to reduce 50% of Greenhouse Gas by 2025 – as per The Low Carbon Society Blueprint for Iskandar Malaysia 2025, which was officially launched in 2012 by Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The MoU was signed in conjunction with this year’s Conference of Parties (COP23), the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change with other relevant key parties held in Bonn, Germany at Malaysia Pavilion’s side event on Iskandar Malaysia Sustainable Energy for All. This event involved presentations by international credible partners that IRDA is currently working with namely from UN Environment and World Research Institute. During COP23, Iskandar Malaysia shared the action plans to improve energy efficiency in two SE4All initiatives, namely Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) and Global District Energy (GDE).
The high-level action plans for Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) Programme includes new local policy to impose mandatory for green building as requirement for planning permission for selected development area, and reduction of energy consumption in existing buildings. A local, multi stakeholder coordination group will be formed and incentives or grants to be explored to assist delivery of BEA projects.
Immediate actions for Global District Energy (GDE) include a rapid assessment of the technical and economic feasibility of selected projects to determine barriers, gaps, initial strategies and recommendations to unlock investment in district cooling in the region.
Prior to the event, numerous engagements with local stakeholders were held in Iskandar Malaysia in finalizing the action plan which include:
i. Workshop on Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) Programme focusing on potential local partners;
ii. Forum on Scaling up Investment in Efficient & Low Carbon Cooling in Malaysia;
iii. Focus Group Discussions and local site visits;
Chief Executive of IRDA, Datuk Ismail Ibrahim pointed out that Iskandar Malaysia requires the full support from the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) and Global District Energy (GDE) working platforms and local stakeholders to ensure swift implementation of both programmes.
“Iskandar Malaysia is looking forward to having collaborations with local partners to implement the action plans during the World Urban Forum to be held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2018,” he added.
Martina Otto stated, “According to a 2013 report by the Asian Development Bank, Malaysia could triple the scale of its district cooling industry to a built-up capacity of 575,000 refrigerant tons, the equivalent cooling load of up to 12 million square metres of commercial floor space.
“With the pace of Malaysia’s real estate market growth, and the numerous successful district cooling systems being commissioned across the country, this potential could be even higher,” said Martina.
On the GDE, a local multi-stakeholder coordination structure will be created and a planning guideline for district cooling to be prepared to cover land requirement for energy plants, best practice capacity, thermal storage types, as well as information on planning for and delivering the integration of renewable technologies and third-party access.
Experts from the District Energy in Cities Initiative will contribute their expertise in barrier and opportunity analysis, technical assessment, identification of regulatory gaps and development of initial strategies to unlock Iskandar Malaysia’s district energy market and outline the technology’s potential use.