Saturday, July 2, 2011

Need for more power plants, rising power demand seen

SHAH ALAM: The Government needs to commission more power plants in the country to cope with the rising demand for electricity in Peninsular Malaysia, according to Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin.

“It is because we have to keep up with that big energy demand which is incommensurate with our gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Because of that and also because of our pledge to never to have brownouts in the country, so we have to keep planting (power plants),” Chin said after the launch of the 1Malaysia Programme, a green solution aimed at achieving energy efficiency and reduction of carbon emissions yesterday.

Chin said the extra power plants were in addition to the two 1,000MW power plants announced earlier.

“This is also a good time for us to be aware of our energy consumption pattern as the tariff has gone up,” he added.

The Energy Commission (EC) had offered Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) to develop the first unit of 1,000MW coal-fired power plant on its existing power plant site in Manjung, Perak. Last month, Malakoff Bhd had accepted the conditional offer from EC, to undertake the construction and development of a 1,000MW coal-fired power plant which will be located alongside the existing Tanjung Bin power plant.

At a recent financial results briefing, TNB chairman Tan Sri Leo Moggie said the analysis of electricity growth year-on-year shows demand growth at 3.5% driven by commercial and domestic sectors that recorded growth of 5.2% and 5.6% respectively.

“This is lower than our earlier forecast of 5% growth for the full year, as the second quarter is normally the low consumption period due to the festive holidays.

“Demand is typically higher in the second half of the financial year and we are confident that the target of 5% demand growth for the full year is achievable,” Leo Moggie said.

According to the commission, the peninsula could face a power shortage by 2015 based on the Government's targeted growth rate of 6% per year for the next five years for the country's economy.

Electricity demand in the peninsula has already been growing between 5% and 8% every year.

Industry experts said that based on the demand growth trend, the current electricity reserve margin of about 42% could be halved if there were no new plant-ups soon.

Energy Commission chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali assured that there was enough energy supply currently.

“At the moment our planting is sufficient to cater for the anticipated needs up to 2016. Every six months, the ministry sits down to assess the situation.

:During the course of this year and the next, we will decide what is going to happen in 2017, 2018 and so on. This is an ongoing thing,” he said.

Tajuddin hoped that with further improvement through energy efficiency, the need for further planting up would be reduced.

“We are not saying it is not going to be there. Old plants need to be replaced and so on. But what we are saying is that if the per capita use move in the right direction then the need for further planting up of power plants can be stretched further or the quantum will be less,” he said.

Tajuddin also said the energy consumption of the country was currently at the “wrong side of the curve”.

“What we want is our energy consumption per capita against GDP to be high but low on energy per capita. Unfortunately, we are now at the wrong side.

“We want our GDP to grow up per capita but at the same time we do not want our energy per capita to grow up so fast. We want it to go up but at a lower pace. We want to be on the right side of the curve,” Tajuddin said.

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