Axed 6 power plants save 20 years of electricity supply costs worth RM11.4b

Mestecc also saved RM2.2b by cancelling 389 non-performing TBB projects since July 2018

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change’s (Mestecc) cancellation of six power projects has led to savings of as much as RM11.4 billion in electricity supply costs for 20 years of usage.

According to Mestecc’s 2019 report card, the power projects included four independent power producers (IPP) and two hydro-power plants, of which five are in Peninsular Malaysia and one in Sabah.

“The ministry is also in the process of reclaiming arrears amounting to RM250 million from the IPP for the financial year ended 2008 to 2018 into the Electricity Supply Industry Trust Account (AAIBE) and AAIBE Sabah.

“The claims will be used for research and development (R&D) for electricity supply industry, training and education for the electricity sector’s human capital, smart electricity usage awareness programme, and development and promotion of electricity supply industry and to manage the tariff impact,” the report stated.

In the power sector, the ministry had also introduced a RM40 rebate programme for electricity bills for poor house heads (KIR) that are registered under the e-Kasih system since January 2019.

“The government has prepared an allocation over RM100 million for this purpose.

“Since the implementation of this programme, the amount of KIR that will receive the electricity bill subsidy has increased by sixfold from 18,738 to 115,207,” the report said.

Mestecc has also allocated the installation of over 25,000 units of LED lamps for roads in rural and remote areas for the years 2019-2020 via the Incentive-Based Regulation, which is a collaboration between Mestecc and the Ministry of Rural Development.

“The LED lamps are expected to brighten up villages and save as much as 30% to 40% in electricity bills,” it said.

The ministry has also provided electricity to 13 native settlements for Orang Asli in Pahang, which is set to benefit 300 families, while also allocating as much as RM10 million to give 20% electric bill discount for registered taska starting from Nov 1, 2019 to Dec 31, 2020.

Meanwhile, 50 sets of solar panels have been allocated to 37 schools and five local authorities, utilising the concept of solar leasing.

The project will see buildings enjoying monthly bill savings for the contract period of 21 to 25 years without involving installation and maintenance costs.

The ministry has also cancelled the plan for nuclear power plant development and abolished the Malaysian Nuclear Power Corp, and enhanced the Net Energy Metering (NEM) policy as of Jan 1, 2019.

Under the NEM 2.0, the participation capacity has increased by sevenfold as of 2019 versus the participation for three years prior, namely 2016 to 2018.

Similarly, Mestecc has also enhanced the policy on solar leasing via the Supply Agreement of Renewable Energy to enable service organisations for solar energy to offer zero upfront cost package, which means more users may be able to enjoy the NEM 2.0 incentive.

Moving forward, the ministry is also expected to increase renew-able energy (TBB) in the mixed electricity from 2% to 20% by 2025 and the mixed percentage does not include the generation of large hydro over 100MW.

By cancelling 389 non-performing TBB projects since July 2018, Mestecc also saved as much as RM2.16 billion. The ministry has since opened 160MW Feed-in Tariff quota for more TBB entrepreneurs starting from 2019.

For the Science, Technology and Innovation sector, the ministry has redirected the R&D expenditure, allocating at least 50% for the industry research to boost economic development in the country, while also launching a platform for Framework Collaboration, entitled Innovation Connect.

The platform is intended to catalyse partnerships between academics, industry, government and non-governmental organisations in search of innovative solutions and new technologies to boost strategic industries.

As much as RM16 million was allocated by Mestecc for the platform as a grant match with industry to carry out R&D collaboration based on industry needs and market demand.

Other initiatives by the ministry for the sector include the establishment of National Scientific Facilities and Equipment web and mobile application, the Researcher-Industry Scientific Exchange and Malaysia Open Science Platform.

LED lamps are expected to save as much as 30% to 40% in electricity bills

As for the Environment and Climate Change sector, the ministry has increased the Environmental Quality Enforcement Act 1974 via the Environment Department, such as having performed 100% prosecution cases, compounds and actions of enforcement out of 5,678 cases in 2018 to 15,793 cases in 2019.

Mestecc has also tightened laws on controlling pollution in Malaysia and launched the country’s roadmap towards zero single-use plastics between 2018 and 2030 on Oct 17, 2018, as well as suspended the operations of 170 factories that recycle plastic.

An estimated amount of 100 containers filled with non-permitted plastic waste were sent back to the origin countries in 2019.

According to the report, the ministry had also committed to decrease the intensity of greenhouse gas by 45% in 2030, as well as established its stance on climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Malaysia has taken up three initiatives to tackle the transboundary haze for the longer term, such as asking member countries, especially Indonesia to obey the obligations under Asean agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

A study on the needs for negotiations for people involved in causing the pollution via the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act is also in the cards, while an allocation of RM3 million has been set aside to research on an innovative solution that could reduce the burning of peat fires.