Phasing out coal & diesel power stations by 2023

Electricity production is Malaysia’s biggest carbon emitter due to our huge reliance on coal. In 2019, TNB’s greenhouse gas emission intensity was 0.57 kgCO2/kWh. If you used 400kWh per month last year, then your carbon footprint from electricity was 2.74 tonnes. Hence, Malaysia needs to phase out coal and diesel power stations by 2023 to decarbonize our power grid.

Fuel switching from coal to gas

Peninsular Malaysia has 7 coal power stations generating more than 53% of the peninsula’s electricity. These are the biggest national culprits. In 2019, TNB spent RM10 billion to import coal. Thus, Malaysia suffered foreign outflow worth 0.6% of our national GDP.

In East Malaysia, Sabah does not have any coal power stations but Sarawak has a combination of old and new coal power stations. The older coal power stations should be decommissioned immediately.

It is unrealistic to prematurely close new power stations. Henceforth, it is best to do fuel switching, whereby the coal power stations burn fossil-methane (natural gas) instead of dirty coal. Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak have a reserve margin (stand-by) at around 30%. Hence, Malaysia could conduct minor refurbishments on 1-2 coal power stations at any given time

Phasing out diesel

Diesel and distilled oil produces less than 0.1% of TNB’s power generation but has a disproportionately larger carbon footprint. TNB could phase out all the diesel and distilled oil power stations immediately. However, this would not be easy to do in East Malaysia due to multiple fragmented power grids.

Certain power grids in East Malaysia run exclusively on diesel power stations. Currently, the government is funding and constructing transmission networks to unify East Malaysia’s power grid by September 2022. Once completed, cheap hydropower from Central Sarawak can reach northern Sarawak and the whole of Sabah.

Subsequently, diesel generators in Sarawak and Sabah could be phased out by 2023. Sabah also has many aging, inefficient, expensive and unwanted reserve (stand-by) gas power stations which could be phased out too.

Central Committee

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
State Secretary
Parti Sosialis Malaysia Negeri Melaka (PSM Melaka)

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