TNB calls for holistic approach to global energy transition

by HAJAR UMIRA MD ZAKI

TENAGA Nasional Bhd (TNB) is calling for a holistic and collaborative approach in navigating the complexities of the global energy transition (GET).

Its president and CEO Datuk Baharin Din (picture) said although many expected a rapid and complete transition to renewable energy (RE), he deemed it rather complex and challenging.

“For Asean, as a developing region, we have the responsibility to balance the energy trilemma to ensure the security of supply and affordability for our customers.

“In today’s electricity industry, it is vital to adopt a perspective that encompasses both cross-sector and cross-country considerations. 

“This approach enables us to optimise resources, capitalise on economies of scale, and effectively manage the substantial capital expenditure involved, which will facilitate informed decision-making for a sustainable and efficient energy transition,” he said during the panel discussion on “Cutting Through the Noise and Curating Cross-Sectoral Consensus”.

Bahrain was at Reuter’s GET held in New York, US on June 7, 2023. 

Around 800 senior executives comprising C-suites, net zero leaders from the energy, industrial, finance and government sectors, and investors attended the two-day conference.

The discussion was focused on the often overlooked yet crucial aspects of the energy transition.

Between 2018 and 2050, Asean would require US$220 billion annually to invest in energy transition to reach net zero carbon.

With that amount, Baharin asserted that the cross-sectoral solutions would help optimise resources while meeting everyone’s needs in reaching their respective energy transition goals.

Consequently, the government plays a significant role in developing a clear policy and providing investment and coordination across sectors to facilitate the energy transition, he said.

Meanwhile, TNB would need approximately RM440 billion to RM450 billion of capital expenditure in pursuing its own Responsible Energy Transition agenda for Malaysia for the same period.

Taking the company’s own experience in handling the energy transition in Malaysia for example, Baharin emphasised that they were lucky the government provided the much-needed clear policies, funding for new green technology investment and guidance.

As for the regional interconnection, he further highlighted that Malaysia and Asean countries were excited to gain similar benefits from cross-border trade as their counterparts in Europe.

“The common understanding of the criticality of the energy transition over these past three years has helped push the Asean region to accelerate its interconnection program that has been stalled for over 30 years.

“The interconnection will help open doors for investment in generation and grid, which will help strengthen the security of supply to the region.

“We have 7.7GW of existing interconnections, but power trade is primarily done bilaterally through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and interconnection agreements,” he added.

Moreover, with a more comprehensive approach to the energy transition, Baharin further stressed that it would avoid duplication and allow the pooling of resources, expertise and innovative ideas from various sectors, leading to more effective and sustainable solutions. 

He added that the approach could address the multifaceted aspects of the transition which includes the technological advancements, policy frameworks, societal impacts and environmental considerations. 

“This comprehensive approach increases the chances of achieving long-term success,” he said.