Brunei perfect for electric vehicles, says US expert

National 2 minutes, 13 seconds


A LEADING international transportation expert yesterday urged Brunei to start the transition to electric vehicles in a strategic move to reduce domestic oil and gas use.

“Brunei is perfect for electric vehicles,” said Professor Daniel Sperling at the Brunei National Energy Research Institute (BNERI) International Annual Conference 2014, where he delivered a presentation on greener transport technologies.

Electric vehicles are ideal for the sultanate, explained the expert from University of California, Davis in the United States of America, as the distances are short and temperature is moderate.

Prof Sperling proposed the transition to electric vehicles as a major project for Brunei in view of limited petroleum reserves.

He underlined the need to reduce domestic oil and gas use, leaving more for exports and for future generations.

“There is no doubt that most vehicles in the future will be electric,” said the director of Energy Institute and Institute of Transportation Studies.

Another major project that he recommended for Brunei was to build low-cost Zero Net Energy (ZNE) houses to reduce carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, stressing that greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are among the world’s most pressing concerns.

“To be ZNE, it’s not very hard actually… With just very accepted, well-known technology, it is possible to dramatically reduce energy use by 50 to 70 per cent without any advanced technology,” he said.

Professor Sperling, who is also a board member of the California Air Resources Board, shared that the ZNE development called West Village at his university could be a very useful model for Brunei. The campus on UC Davis is powered by solar energy, wind energy and biodigester.

“We found that with very little innovation, you don’t even need advance technologies, but just better design,” said the speaker.

The expert advised the sultanate to carry out the projects in partnership with California as the West Coast American state is reshaping its car-centric cities and lifestyles.

Meanwhile, the Energy Minister of the Energy Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EDPMO) said in his opening remarks that Brunei needs to take serious consideration particularly with regards to practical policy and strategies.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohd Yasmin Hj Umar acknowledged that the economy will continue to depend on the energy sector.

“It is therefore important for us to continue to sustain our economic growth through diversification of the energy sector. And this requires a systematic approach and concerted efforts by all parties concerned,” he commented.

The BNERI International Annual Conference 2014 was held at the Royal Berkshire Hall, Royal Brunei Polo & Riding Club, as part of the ongoing Energy Week.

The Brunei Times