In 2008, the city of Malacca was recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. That announcement reflects the significant influence Malacca has had in the region for centuries, as both an international trade centre and birthplace of one of the earliest Malay sultanates. That influence continues today with Malacca’s position as a pioneering hub of national energy innovation.
On the 15th of April, Malacca celebrates Malacca Historical City Day. This celebration of the city’s rich history marks a public holiday for citizens across the state. Yet Malacca should also be celebrated for its contemporary role in national history. This is not simply a city with a rich historical past. It is a city which has played a pivotal role at the forefront of evolving technology and energy innovation in Malaysia today.
In 2016, Malacca became the first city in Malaysia to adopt smart connected street lighting. The initiative saw 1,000 intelligent cloud-based streetlights installed across the city.
Malacca adopted smart connected street lighting, installing 1,000 intelligent cloud-based streetlights
This integrated smart lighting system can cut energy consumption by up to 80% compared to traditional street lighting solutions. It operates by connecting each individual streetlight across a smart network through the existing cellular network. Performance data is then compiled and shared across the connected ecosystem, providing valuable insight to the authorities on streetlight performance.
Each individual unit can be monitored and managed, allowing for a flexible light profile that adapts to meet specific requirements depending on footfall, traffic, and other local considerations. That means real-time insight that reduces energy consumption while also providing greater oversight of maintenance needs.
Smart meters are an essential foundation to monitoring and managing future energy demand. These devices provide real-time insight on electricity consumption, unlocking a new opportunity for informed consumption amongst consumers across the world. Smart meters not only help reduce individual electricity bills, but form an important part of a wider ‘smart energy’ ecosystem that enables adoption of transformative technologies such as renewable energy and P2P energy networks. In 2015, Malacca played an important part in the first pilot of such systems in Malaysia.
This pilot project saw 800 smart meter units trailed in Malacca, with a further 200 in Putrajaya, providing valuable insight on how this technology could best be adopted in Malaysia. The success of the pilot saw Malacca chosen as the location for the first phase of the national smart meter rollout, with 300,000 homes in the state converted from traditional meters to smart meters over the period 2016-2018. The on-going initiative aims to see the rollout of smart meters to 9.1 million households in Peninsular Malaysia by 2026.
Electric vehicles (EVs) will become an increasingly common sight in the cities of the future, with the International Energy Agency projecting as many as 44 million units sold annually across the globe by 2030 in a widespread adoption scenario. Electrified public transport will play an important part of that, and Malacca was once again at the forefront of this technology in Malaysia.
In 2015, Malacca became the first city in Malaysia to trial electric buses on its roads. These electric-powered vehicles provided a new service in the centre of the historical city, offering a cleaner alternative to the traditional vehicles traversing the crowded streets. While these electric buses were phased out in 2018 as part of cost-cutting measures, the early adoption once again showcases Malacca’s role as a pioneer of new technology.
Malacca was home to Malaysia’s first solar-powered electric vehicle charging station
If the ambitious projection of electric vehicle adoption is to be realised, then supporting infrastructure in the form of EV charging stations will be pivotal. Malaysia currently has 271 electric vehicle charging stations, with many more planned for the years ahead.
As this technology transforms, innovative new methods of delivery are being pioneered. That was the case in 2018, when Malacca became home to Malaysia’s first solar-powered EV charging station. This unit, installed at a service station off the North-South Expressway, was built in partnership in between the Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. It marks the first of five such stations due to be rolled out over following years.
The success of Malacca in embracing pioneering energy technologies has resulted in a reputation for innovation. That recognition provides the foundation for an even more ambitious project planned for the future — Melaka Blockchain City.
A blockchain-based smart city will form the essence of smart transportation and services in a city
This proposed blockchain-based smart city is planned to emerge from 635 acres of reclaimed land, contributing to a total 835 acres of boutique hotels and sea-view-villas. It aims to create a stunning tourism hotspot by the seafront of the historic Malacca city itself. This visionary model will see blockchain forming the foundation of a smart city environment, with integrated smart transport and city services creating a seeming tech-utopia for tourism.
Such a radical vision of future smart cities may seem ambitious. Yet it perhaps offers a roadmap of how smart integration could influence the future of transforming energy demand. Regardless of the outcome, such a project offers a powerful example of Malacca’s well-earned reputation for modern energy innovation.
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