New survey reveals cost as both barrier and driver to energy efficiency in Malaysia

New survey reveals cost as both barrier and driver to energy efficiency in Malaysia

  • Global survey commissioned by ABB highlights current and future plans of companies to invest in energy efficiency to achieve Net Zero
  • 90 percent will increase spending over the next five years while 52 percent plan to achieve Net Zero within the same period
  • Malaysian industries least likely to be making energy efficiency improvements this year

Global industry is accelerating its investment in energy efficiency in the next five years as the crucial race towards Net Zero intensifies, a new survey finds. The Energy Efficiency Investment Survey 2022 comes in the wake of a recent UN report calling for concerted action from countries to cut greenhouse emissions at a faster rate.

The global survey conducted by Sapio Research targeted 2,294 companies in 13 countries, ranging in size from 500 to 5,000 or more employees. It offers the latest snapshot of how industries across the world are planning to invest in energy efficiency measures to achieve Net Zero. A key finding is that more than half (54 percent) of the companies are already investing, while 40 percent plan to make energy efficiency improvements this year.

“Significant population and economic growth will accelerate climate change to a critical point if governments and industry don’t intensify their efforts. Growing urbanization and rising geopolitical tension will also make energy security and sustainability even more critical,” said Tarak Mehta, President of ABB Motion. “Improving energy efficiency is an essential strategy to address these potential crises. Therefore, the acceleration in investment highlighted by this survey is positive news.”

Industrial motor-driven systems, in particular, hold huge potential for energy efficiency measures. Almost two-thirds of the survey respondents are upgrading their equipment to best-in-class efficiency ratings, such as high-efficiency electric motors controlled by variable speed drives.

In Malaysia, around 100 industrial leaders responded to the survey. Almost half revealed plans to achieve net zero within five years, but only 23 percent are likely to be making energy efficiency improvements this year. While 50 percent viewed cost as a major barrier, 70 percent listed cost savings as the most important reason to invest.

“To its credit, Malaysia has set an ambitious target to achieve carbon neutrality as early as 2050. While volatility surrounding the pandemic recovery suggests a challenging path forward, the current scenario also presents a unique opportunity for us to recalibrate and reconsider the importance of energy efficiency. A short-sighted return to business-as-usual is no longer an option,” said R Narayanan, Senior Vice President, ABB Motion, Asia. “It’s also vital to help stakeholders understand that adopting energy efficient technology offers a fast return on investment while cutting CO2 emissions.”

More key learnings from Malaysia:

  • Only 38 percent of respondents felt that they have sufficient information regarding energy efficiency measures
  • Despite being responsible for significant CO2 emissions, the transportation sector lags in terms of improving energy usage compared to manufacturing and facilities which includes building management, HVAC and lighting
  • Pressure from investors, customers and regulators were rated as least important consideration when making investment decisions on energy efficiency

Energy Efficiency Movement

The survey was carried out as part of the #energyefficiencymovement, a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by ABB in 2021. The movement is consistent with the company’s Sustainability 2030 strategy, which commits to supporting ABB’s customers in decreasing their 2030 CO2 footprint by a collective 100 megatons annually, the equivalent of removing 30 million combustion cars from the roads each year. The Energy Efficiency Movement’s aim is thus to raise awareness and initiate action to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions to combat climate change. Companies are invited to join the movement and make a public pledge as a way of inspiring others to take action. For more information:

The Energy Efficiency Investment Survey 2022 is available here.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.


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