To accelerate the national and regional development and manufacture of green energy products and businesses, Malaysia has partnered with Japan-based Asian Energy Investments Pte Ltd. (AIE) in a $100 million investment mega-fund to seed promising new ideas and innovators in Southeast Asia.
A new Malaysia-based fund management company -- Putra Eco Ventures Inc. -- will both channel the investments and provide business consultancy services to green technology companies.
The Fund will focus on investments in small- to mid-size technologies and enterprises, according to proponents led by Dr. Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Dr Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Chairman of AEI and former Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan.
Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak presided at the announcement, made at a meeting in San Francisco of the Prime Minister's Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council, made up of distinguished leading global sustainable development experts, including Dr. Kurokawa. Dr. Zakri co-chairs the Council secretariat.
"Over the last two centuries, as the world has rapidly urbanized, humanity has turned progressively to sources of heat and power that emit less carbon per unit of energy," says Dr. Zakri. "Wood burning of centuries ago yielded to coal in the Industrial Revolution, then oil, natural gas and electricity. It is a phenomenon known as energy decarbonization and a process driven almost entirely by markets, not politics."
"This new green energy venture capital fund is a wise investment in developing a family of new technologies able to draw and store energy from renewable, inexhaustible sources such as the sun, wind or tides. Demand for these products and businesses will be again driven by consumer convenience, cost advantage and environmental necessity, and logic dictates that they will eventually trump non-renewable fossil fuels in global markets short years or decades from now."
The fund management company will also be charged with helping revive Malaysian biodiesel plants idled by sharp increases in the price of crude palm oil, on which the plants depended for feedstock, investigating cheaper biodiesel feedstocks, including municipal waste and waste oil palm biomass.
Malaysia's interests in the new fund will be managed by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), represented by its wholly-owned subsidiary, MIGHT Technology Nurturing Sdn Bhd.
AEI is an offshore investment arm of Industrial Decisions, Inc. (IDI) of Japan, which is under the umbrella of Mizuho Financial Group.
Under a second, parallel agreement announced between General Electric, Green Tech and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Malaysia's main energy provider, the country will also accelerate its electricity "Smart Grid" modernization.
A "smart grid" uses technology to collect practical information about electricity use and supply -- insights useful to improving the efficiency, reliability, economics, and sustainability of electricity production and distribution.
Collaborations under the agreement include:
- Support for development of a National Policy and Regulatory Framework on Malaysian smart grid,
- The study, assessment and sharing of best practices related to key technologies and solutions,
- Exploring the establishment of a Center of Excellence to position Malaysia as regional leader in innovative, sustainable, and public-private partnership-driven smart grid initiatives.
Says Prime minister Razak: "Moving forward, the nation strives for a sustainable growth where science, technology and industry will be expected to play a key role. We hope to leverage on science and technology, including in green technology, to further transform Malaysia into a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy that is environmentally friendly while aiming to join the ranks of developed nations."
The announcements conform with advice offered by leading development experts on Malaysia's Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council, who consider investments in green energy the #1 priority for countries looking to move up the world's financial ranks.
According to Jerry Hultin, for example, Senior Presidential Fellow of New York University, and President Emeritus of the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, green energy is an investment of foremost importance for emerging economy countries, simultaneously promoting environmental interests, energy security, entrepreneurship, human capital and prosperity.
Mr. Hultin also advocates smart electricity initiatives essential to sustain megacities of the future, developing and demonstrating energy-saving technologies for creating smart cars, smart buildings and 'microgrids' (local power generation via small urban wind turbines), which together will offer the highest returns on green energy investments.
GSIAC, created by Prime Minister Razak in 2011 through a partnership between MIGHT and the New York Academy of Sciences, is comprised of world leaders in economics, business, science and technology, each volunteering to help Malaysia pioneer a development path in a sustainable manner.
About the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT)
MIGHT is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee under the purview of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Built on the strength of public-private partnership with more than 100 members, both local and international, from industry, government and academia, MIGHT is dedicated to providing a platform for industry-government consensus building in the drive to advance high technology competency in Malaysia. http://www.
About the New York Academy of Sciences
NYAS is an independent, not-for-profit organization that, since 1817, has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. http://www.