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Role of Renewable Energy in Sustainable Semiconductor Manufacturing in Malaysia

Published: 8.11.2023

The semiconductor industry stands as one of the world's most energy-intensive sectors, and in Malaysia, it holds a prominent position in the economy, contributing to over 7% of the nation's GDP reported by SEMICON Southeast Asia.

As the demand for semiconductors continues its upward trajectory, the industry is proactively exploring renewable energy solutions to mitigate its environmental impact.

Renewable energy is rapidly gaining appeal within the Malaysian semiconductor manufacturing landscape for several compelling reasons. Firstly, the declining costs associated with renewable energy technologies render them a financially viable alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

The Malaysian government, secondly, has demonstrated a robust commitment to bolstering the adoption of renewable energy. The proactive approach of offering incentives to businesses embracing renewable energy sources further solidifies this transition. Thirdly, mounting pressure from conscientious consumers and sustainability-focused investors is compelling the semiconductor industry to prioritize environmental responsibility.

The multifaceted potential of renewable energy in the semiconductor sector extends beyond mere electricity generation. The power of renewables can also be harnessed to address a critical challenge – cooling the energy-intensive semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

Given the substantial heat generated during the manufacturing process, employing renewable energy for cooling purposes offers a two-fold benefit. Not only does it decrease reliance on fossil fuels for cooling but it also contributes to the overarching sustainability goals of the semiconductor industry.

Transitioning to renewable energy involves an upfront investment that often exceeds traditional fossil fuel options. However, this financial barrier is gradually waning, with renewable energy costs projected to continue their descent. Importantly, these investments are counterbalanced by substantial savings derived from reduced energy consumption and lowered environmental compliance costs.

A noteworthy case in point of successful renewable energy integration is illustrated by SilTerra Malaysia. The company invested in solar panels to generate over 50% of their electricity and proposed initiatives aimed at enhancing energy efficiency, including the deployment of LED lighting and the implementation of heat recovery systems. They have collectively led to a 20% reduction in energy consumption resulting to lowered operational costs and heightened environmental stewardship.

Within the evolving landscape of heightened environmental consciousness, the semiconductor industry faces an increasingly urgent need to minimize its ecological footprint. By incorporating renewables, semiconductor manufacturers can tangibly reduce their emissions,  enhancing their environmental standing.

The future of semiconductor manufacturing in Malaysia is bright. The industry is poised for growth, and the use of renewable energy is a key factor making attractive to investors and consumers, and will help to ensure its long-term success.

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