KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has defended the state’s hydrogen economy initiatives during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.

Speaking during his ministerial winding up speech, Abang Johari said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government has taken bold steps to promote clean energy industry by exploring the hydrogen economy, diversifying from traditional energy sources that have repercussions on climate change.

In communities across the world, hydrogen technology is now very well developed and proven to be safe, he added.

“Honourable members may note that, experts have expressed very favourable views on the future of hydrogen economy in Malaysia as expressed at the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) 12th General Assembly held on 27 April 2019 in Kuala Lumpur.

“Here I wish to quote: ‘Malaysia’s energy policies, namely the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Blueprint 2017, suggest that Malaysia is ready to embrace renewable resources as a way forward, by including the potential of fuel cell using hydrogen energy, to bring a clean, zero emission energy technology for a sustainable nation’,” he said.

He said even Petronas’ Hydrogen Vision, viewed hydrogen as a decarbonisation solution, by managing carbon dioxide emission across its value chain, and view hydrogen as an enabler for potential business growth.

“Tenaga National Berhad’s Technology Roadmap 1 (TRM1), identified hydrogen as one of the enablers under Proactive Environmental Management Theme

“TNB’s research and development (R&D) also suggested that Hydrogen is an excellent energy carrier due to hydrogen having longer discharge duration and larger capacity compared to other energy storage and energy carrier technologies which is useful for applications in the heavy transportation and industrial sector,” he said.

“On related development, according to South Korea government’s hydrogen road map released in January this year, the Korean hydrogen market is expected to reach 70 trillion won by 2050,” he said.

Abang Johari said South Korea had announced last week that it will build three hydrogen-powered cities by 2022, adding that the plan will see the cities use hydrogen as the fuel for cooling, heating, electricity and transportation.

“Over the past months, I drove around town in a hydrogen fuel cell powered SUV by a South Korean manufacturer; so far it has been a smooth and quiet ride, and safe to handle,” he said.

Despite the advances in hydrogen technology across the world, Abang Johari believed that more can be done for the advancement of the hydrogen technology.

“Rather than shirking from the challenge like the Honourable Member for Pending (Violet Yong), we Sarawakians must foster the spirit of building a climate-smart economy of the future in order to protect our homeland, Sarawak Ibu Pertiwiku,” he said.

On state transition to a reliable, clean energy system, Abang Johari has approved RM20.3 million for an applied research grant on hydrogen economy initiative, as proof of his commitment to R&D funding which calls for a 21st Century Clean Transportation initiative.

“This would help modernise our urban infrastructure through new technologies such as fuel cell technology, hydrogen-powered vehicles and hydrogen powered Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) which has zero carbon emission,” he insisted.

“In this respect, we have allocated a preliminary sum of RM20 million through Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) to start this initiative.”

This development, coupled with those in other cutting-edge technology sectors ranging from manufacturing to agriculture, will create new jobs, attract new high value added industries that can contribute positively to labour revenue productivity, he said.

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