Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sustainable Energy Development Authority seeks extra 1% levy

PUTRAJAYA: The Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda) is seeking an additional 1% levy to the renewable energy (RE) fund, on top of the current 1% imposed in electricity bills, according to CEO Datin Badriyah Abdul Malek.
“We’re looking at a maximun 1% levy that could increase the RE fund size to spur more development in the RE sector. The RE fund is the lifeline of Feed-in-Tariff (FiT),” she said at Seda’s Raya open house in Putrajaya yesterday.
Under the Renewable Energy Act 2011, individuals or non-individuals can sell electricity generated from RE resources to power utility firms at a fixed premium price for a specified time. The four RE resources that are eligible for FiT are biogas, biomass, small hydropower and solar photovoltaic (PV).
The current 1% levy to cover costs associated with the FiT scheme translates to about RM300mil a year. The 1% levy, which took effect in December 2011, is imposed on all users, except for domestic customers who consume less than 300 kilowatt-hours (kwh) or equivalent to RM77 a month.
When the additional 1% levy is imposed, the same group of consumers will have to pay 2% levy for FiT.
Badriyah disclosed Seda had spoken to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry on the potential review and that it was work in progress.
She said although Seda had received an in-principle approval for the 2% levy, the extra 1% was in the Government’s hands.
According to Badriyah, the initial RM300mil fund size has been committed to feed in approval holders (FiAHs) for the next 21 years.
“The money has been locked in. This is to ensure that there is money to pay the FiAHs,” she said, adding that Seda was also looking at various ways to top up the RE fund.
The Act also requires the management and utilisation of the RE fund to be reported and tabled in Parliament annually for the public to scrutinise the information.
Badriyah said the past 20 months had been a “volatile” period for Seda, which had managed a substantial growth in RE.
So far the agency has disbursed some RM44mil to the FiAHs. As of July 31, Seda had approved RE capacity of 509.75 MW, of which 112.44 MW are connected to the grid.
Meanwhile, Seda will be releasing 1,500kW of solar PV quota to individuals in three batches. The first 500kW quota for individuals under the Solar Home Rooftop Programme will be released today, followed by another 500kW on Sept 4 and Sept 11 at noon.
“There will be no more releases of any solar PV quota for individuals for 2013 after Sept 11 because it is not realistic for these individual FiAHs to be able to achieve commercial operation of their PV system by the year-end,” Badriyah said.
She said that any renewable energy projects that were supposed to achieve commercial operation by this year but failed to do so would incur further degression to their FiT rate as stipulated in their FiA certificate.
It is thus important for all FiAHs to note that for solar PV for individuals the degression rate is 8% while for non-individuals it is 20%.
Effective today, solar PV quota for the individual will be applicable only for residential premises under individual names only to prevent any potential abuse of solar PV quota for individuals.
Badriyah said Seda would be strict in approving applications and reminded interested FiA applicants to comply with all the necessary requirements.
Meanwhile, Business Ethics Institute of Malaysia chairman S. Supramaniam opined that Seda should explain to the public what it had done with the 1% levy before seeking an extra 1%.
“We don’t even know what they (Seda) have done with the 1%. Show us how well you have done with the 1%,” he told StarBiz.
Furthermore, he said there was limited consultation with the public on the levy.
He also said information on the initial 1% levy was not properly disseminated to the public.
Supramaniam noted that the clean energy domain should rest with the Government and that it should pay for it.

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