Is Complete Switch to Renewable Energy Attainable? Find Out What This Debater Has To Say

Published by Afterschool.my on Sep 30, 2022, 10:45 pm

Global warming has become a widespread concern for the younger generation as we progress into the future. While consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious with their purchases, industries are conscientiously seeking out alternate sources and devising clever solutions to reduce pollution. Former Electrical Power Engineering student Zairil Ashriq Mohd Zailani from UNITEN is among those keen to become part of the change, as he further expands his understanding of adopting renewable energy to mitigate climate change. 

"I have confidence that our country will be able to completely transition from coal to renewable energy. However, it must include participation from all parties, such as industrial players, governments and the people. We can see that many GLC(s) and other companies are hopping into this trend," Zairil elucidates. "We also need to focus on shifting it progressively, which is why I believe that Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and Carbon Capture Utilisation & Storage (CCUS) are our bridges, apart from many more approaches in achieving our target to become a carbon-neutral nation by 2050.

Zairil believes that Malaysia has the potential to fully shift to renewable energy through careful research and planning

Speak now and rewire your mind

The Kelantanese-born isn't just a highly goal-driven person who wants to create impact; He is also a vocally passionate individual, participating in debates and public speaking since he was in school. As a result, he continued his passion by freelancing as a Public Speaking Coach in 2015, coaching high school debate teams via Skype. He was also invited as a speaker to Madrasah Al-Junied in Singapore to talk about the judging systems of debating in Malaysia. It's no surprise that the 25 year-old is vocal in expressing his thoughts, as he credits Tun Mahathir and Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican from Petronas for his source of inspiration that got him into debate.

"The way they presented themselves and addressed their points in justifying their stands is amazing. In debate, I need to justify my stands. Doing so requires me to equip myself with knowledge which complements my other interest in general knowledge, mainly that impacts the community."

Debate and public speaking has shapen Zairil to become a confident individual and overcome his stage fright

Zairil added that joining debates and public speaking have also built his self-confidence over time, which proves to come in handy as he enters the working world. "This helps me a lot as I'm able to present myself among the top guns whenever I have any ideas that I believe can help with any issues that my team and I are facing. I also learnt to look at things from another perspective which opens up my mind to creative ways in developing solutions."

Pursuing his studies in Electrical Power Engineering

Mechanics have always been Zairil's thing, but he's only discovered what he truly wanted to pursue during his foundation years. "After thorough research, I got interested in the energy industry, so Electrical Power Engineering (EPE) was the way to go due to its prospect in combating global warming, which makes it a future-proof industry filled with endless possibilities."

EPE is the electrical part of the energy converted from various forms of energy. EPE courses focus on the three main objectives: generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. The objectives of EPE are to ensure that the electricity supply is reliable, sustainable, and economical while maintaining the pillars of ESG.                     

While studying EPE at UNITEN, Zairil gushes about how the lectures and learning sessions back then were fascinating. He mentioned that he is grateful the lecturers could relate the theories to real-world situations because, in engineering, it's all about translating the ideas to solutions. 

Looking back at his studies, he recalled that his favourite subject was Power System due to its objective of maintaining the system stability and how Renewable Energy will affect the grids once implemented. "As an example, nowadays we can see EV is entering the market which translates to grid preparation in catering to that demand. Power system plays a huge role in ensuring that demand does not exceed the supply while maintaining the system's stability," says Zairil. 

From scoring Dean's list to making current changes

During his pursuit of higher education, Zairil managed to score himself Dean's list throughout his entire degree. On what the brilliant fellow has to say about his results, "Consistency. I went from a 2.98 CGPA in foundation to getting a 3.91 GPA for the first semester of my degree. Consistency is the key to maintaining that, alongside support from my peers and lecturers. Getting good results is one thing; maintaining them is another. Always be ready to go above and beyond in learning and try to get the bigger picture of what we are studying because only then can we appreciate it and be able to apply the knowledge once we graduate. In doing so, we will also see the impacts of it from various angles such as economics and society."

Soft skills and eagerness is the perfect equation that has gained Zairil a dean's list for 6 consecutive semesters

He is now working as an Electrical Engineering Executive at Suruhanjaya Tenaga, where he is responsible for regulating the electricity and piped gas-related cases. "I'm truly engrossed in what I'm doing because it allows me to be a part of the team that impacts our country positively. Suruhanjaya Tenaga is one of the parties involved in setting the direction of our beloved country's energy industry via new policies, directions, and frameworks. Being in Suruhanjaya Tenaga allows me to combine and practise my technical knowledge and public speaking skills via various meetings with stakeholders, management, and industry players. I can also gain new knowledge and insights around the industry such as new technological development and economic models which mainly linger around the ESG pillars.

Zairil poses for a quick shot during his work, performing electrical inspections at PNB 118

Looking ahead, Zairil wants to improve the society's quality of life, as it sparks the drive in him to continue growing as an individual every day. "I believe that the true meaning of knowledge is using it to give back to society. For that reason, I hope to help the industry to prepare what is required in adopting renewable energy while maintaining its reliability, economic aspects and improving the daily lives of the society as a whole."

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