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Renewable Energy is the Future: Myth or Fact?

The Paris Agreement set a goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C as of the end of the century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires the global net anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050. In terms of the energy sector, renewable energy (RE) plays a vital role in decarbonisation whereby renewables are projected to supply 70–85% of electricity globally in 2050. Although due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global CO2 emissions have somehow reduced, the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2020 found that it is still far beyond Paris’s goal as the world is approaching a temperature rise of more than 3°C in this century. This indicates that despite RE has been growing fast over the past decade, this growth is still insufficient and must speed up to meet Paris’s goal.

The power sector is leading the ongoing energy transition. Thus, accelerating RE electrification is critical in decarbonising the future energy system. RE technology innovations are needed to improve the technologies’ performance and hence, further decrease the costs. Nonetheless, the RE deployment innovations in grid integration are also crucial in enabling a high share of RE in the power system. Such innovations include end-user electrification, digitalisation and decentralisation of the power systems. Would these RE innovations take us towards a low-carbon future? Is RE investment a payoff or trade-off in balancing the energy trilemma? How do we ensure that transforming into a high RE energy system would be a just transition that no one is left behind?

Join us in the Low Carbon Cities Webinar Series third webinar titled “Renewable Energy is the Future: Myth or Fact?” to hear our expert speakers share their insights and experiences on the potential of renewable energy in low carbon cities and discuss whether it can be an achievable possibility for the future.

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Dr. Hoyyen Chan

Dr. Hoyyen holds a PhD degree from the University of Nottingham. She was the Senior Officer at the ASEAN Centre for Energy and now a freelance researcher working on energy and climate change projects. Dr. Hoyyen has been a technical review expert to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 2015. Earlier, she was a research fellow at the Solar Energy Research Institute, National University of Malaysia. Her past research studies were technology-based and community engagements projects that involved entrepreneurs and indigenous people. Dr. Hoyyen was awarded the Australia-APEC Women in Research Fellowship in 2016. She was also the writer of Task Force on Carbon-Free Energy Roadmap for Malaysia (2015-2025) for the Academy of Science Malaysia and she contributed to regional curriculum development programmes on renewable energy and climate change, which were under the initiatives of USAID and the United Nations University.

Guest Speakers/ Panellists

Mr. Ibrahim Ariffin

En. Ibrahim obtained his Master of Renewable Energy (2019) from the University of Malaya, and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Power Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, United States of America (2008). Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, he served Tenaga Nasional Berhad, the largest electricity utility in Malaysia from 2008 until 2020, primarily as a Senior Grid Planning Engineer. With expertise in power system analysis and prowess in power simulation tools such as PSSE, his previous responsibilities included the formulation of the Annual Transmission Development Plan for Peninsular Malaysia and assessment of the development of cross-border grid connections such as the ASEAN Power Grid.

His previous portfolio comprised of facilitating the integration of renewable energy (RE) projects into the national grid system including the Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Feed-in Tariff (FiT) programmes. He gained exposure to the governance and commercial aspects of Large Scale Solar (LSS) power plants in Malaysia by being involved in the development of technical guidelines to facilitate LSS connection to electricity network, and preparation of Power Purchase Agreements alongside Single Buyer, Grid Owner and Grid System Operator. Engagement with the relevant authorities and providing consultation to project developers to support the execution of RE projects from the preliminary planning phase up to commissioning stage gave him a holistic understanding of the nature of such projects, enabling him to address technical and commercial aspects accordingly.

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Dr. Amir Hisham Hashim

Dr. Amir is currently a Principal Consultant with Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen to deliver solutions to the grid on adopting higher renewable energy penetration, load increases, voltage control and major equipment digitization through the use of new technologies and data capture. Prior to this, he was the CEO of UiTM Solar Power with a 50MWac and 25MWac Large Solar Scale plants. His role covers the development of the power plants and their subsequent operation.

He was also the General Manager on Strategy in TNB. This role was focused on supporting the delivery of the TNB Key Result Areas to help TNB’s business sustainability. His experience in TNB included Corporate Planning where he helped develop business plans and policies such as the TNB Green Energy Policy.

Before joining TNB, he was Director of the Institute of Energy Policy and Research (IEPRe) at Universiti Tenaga Nasional. As Director was on determining research direction of the Institute and leading some research work on his own - specifically in the area of energy policy and utility operations and planning.

He has supervised numerous PhD and Masters student during his term as an academic and has published more than 30 academic papers.

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Ms. Alexandra Schneiders

Alexandra Schneiders is a Research Associate at the UCL Energy Institute and the Operating Agent of the Global Observatory on Peer-to-Peer, Community Self-Consumption and Transactive Energy Models (GO-P2P), an Annex of the User-Centred Technology Collaboration Programme by the International Energy Agency. Her research focuses on the policy and regulatory enablers/ obstacles of rolling out peer-to-peer and community self-consumption models, at UK and EU level. Prior to joining the UCL Energy Institute in January 2018, she worked in Brussels in political and legal consultancies, advising corporate and public sector clients such as the European Commission, on energy and financial services-related topics. Her background is in law and politics, and she holds degrees from the University of Amsterdam as well as the College of Europe.

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Prof. Raphael Heffron

Professor Heffron is Professor for Global Energy Law & Sustainability at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee. As of July 2019 he is also Jean Monnet Professor in the Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy awarded by the European Commission. Professor Heffron is a qualified Barrister-at-Law, and a graduate of both Oxford (MSc) and Cambridge (MPhil & PhD).

His work all has a principal focus on achieving a just transition to a low-carbon economy, and combines a mix of energy law, policy and economics. He has published over 140 publications of different types and is the most cited scholar in his field worldwide (1380+Scopus). Professor Heffron has given just over 135 keynote or guest lectures in 49 countries worldwide.

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Mr. Yiming Gao

Yiming is the Energy Transitions Vertical Lead for Young Sustainable Impact Southeast Asia (YSI SEA) and Interseed. YSI SEA is a regional impact incubator working to empower regional youths to create sustainable solutions with a measurable impact. While 3 iterations of YSI SEA’s innovation program have fostered 27 start-ups in our portfolio, thousands of yearly applicants prompt a need for wider reach and stronger networks. Interseed is therefore founded in 2020 as a digital platform for wider regional capacity building and cooperation. Also, as a young professional in clean energy himself, Yiming has worked with ENGIE, ASEAN Center for Energy, and Athena Cleantech. He is also pursuing a dual masters in Renewable Energy with EIT InnoEnergy, a body of the European Union.

You may find the webinar video here.