By: Dr. Nora Yusma Mohamed Yusoff
The successful transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future depends on a collaborative effort involving government bodies, regulators, industries, educators, and consumers. The central objective is to enhance initiatives that engage a wider community, thereby propelling the nation’s advancement towards energy transition and environmental sustainability. Recognizing the impact of environmental sustainability on our planet and the well-being of future generations, a proactive and constructive approach is imperative, particularly in addressing our energy consumption.
By becoming energy-literate and conscious of our energy choices and embracing renewable sources, we can contribute to a greener and more sustainable world for all. As we work to make sustainable practices the norm, we must educate society on the energy system.
Knowing the nature and role of energy in the world allows one to make informed decisions and act responsibly when regulating their everyday energy usage. It entails understanding energy generation, sources, consumption patterns, environmental implications, and most importantly, our role in these complex systems. Malaysia, like most nations, has recognised the need to address the gap in energy literacy among its citizens. In line with this, the Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change Ministry (NRECC) launched the Malaysia Energy Literacy Programme (MELP) in March 2023. The NRECC Minister, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad in his statement, emphasised the programme as a comprehensive effort to promote sustainability across the entire energy supply ecosystem.
“Energy is a resource that should be accessible to all individuals (#TenagaMilikSemua), and it is our duty to protect its sources to ensure that energy is truly available to everyone,” stated Nik Nazmi, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate.
This includes utilities as well as end consumers, whether they are commercial or residential users. It is crucial for our society to prioritise awareness, literacy, and knowledge regarding energy and its consumption. The programme aims to foster an energy-sensitive society that actively contributes to the sustainability of Malaysia’s energy industry. Collaborating closely in content development are subject matter experts from the Energy Commission (Suruhanjaya Tenaga, or ST) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), representing various divisions, departments, and project management offices. The curriculum’s delivery relies on interactive lectures, combining experiential learning with problem-based approaches. There are three main intentions of having MELP which are to provide access to credible information about energy, build decision makers and critical mass support in driving energy sustainability, energy transition (ET) and increase awareness on the need of balancing energy trilemma and expand energy-literate society and smart consumers.
At the heart of MELP lies an innovative educational module, a joint effort between Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). The collaboration was established through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two universities recently, with the aim of enhancing workforce literacy in Malaysia through education. The Memorandum of Understanding Document Exchange Ceremony was held in conjunction with the Energy Transition Conference 2023, which took place recently at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center. The aim of this course is to provide students with energy-related knowledge at higher learning institution, which is one of our target groups is through module offered to universities and other higher learning institution. The goal is to empower them to develop energy-efficient strategies that contribute to environmental sustainability.
In a time of critical need for sustainable solutions, the MELP gives young people hope. MELP helps our youth build a sustainable future as the globe faces challenging energy transition and environmental resilience issues. The impact of MELP extends beyond traditional education. Young activists are prepared to use their newfound knowledge to make an impact on their families, communities, and industries. Their mission is to promote the use of sustainable energy, encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources, and reduce carbon emissions. The ripple effect plays a crucial role in promoting energy transition and environmental resilience, both of which are essential to addressing climate change.
The next generation is being educated about energy-efficient solutions and the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between human progress and ecological harmony. This knowledge serves as a source of inspiration for adopting responsible behaviours aimed at safeguarding the resources and beauty of our planet for the benefit of future generations. The core idea behind MELP is to foster a collective consciousness that naturally leads to well-informed decision-making. The curriculum aims to promote energy sustainability and environmental resilience by fostering an eco-conscious mindset among individuals. These young minds possess the ability to invent, collaborate, and make immediate improvements to our planet.
Youth who are empowered with the principles of MELP will be able to overcome obstacles and make progress. They will embrace sustainability as a way of life rather than just a slogan. MELP’s unwavering commitment to renewable energy and environmental resilience will lead to a flourishing future, promising a brighter tomorrow for everyone.
The author is the Director, Institute of Energy Policy and Research, Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN).