End coal power plants: invest RM10 billion to stop RM150 billion in Ringgit outflow

In the coming decade (2021-2030), Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) will import a staggering 374 million Metric Tonnes (MMT) of coal worth about RM150 billion. In 2020, TNB generated 66% of Peninsular Malaysia’s electricity demand from fully-imported coal.

Dependency on foreign coal is a serious threat to our national economy, value of the Ringgit, energy security and the environment.

The 40-year-old Kapar Energy Venture in Selangor can be shut down immediately but closing the newer coal power plants is not financially viable.

Fuel switching from foreign coal to domestic gas is a promising option for the newer coal power plants.

Fuel switching requires replacing the coal combustion chamber with a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) and piped connections to the peninsular gas pipeline.

On average, new gas power plants (CCGT) cost approximately 2.2 Million Ringgit per MW with gas turbines making up to 40% of the cost.

These power plants would require a 38km extension of the natural gas pipelines that will cost around RM500 million to build.

Thus, the switching expense from coal combustion into gas CCGT turbines for 10,580MW will cost under RM10 billion. Malaysia could save a whopping RM150 billion in coal imports by end of this decade alone by investing in a one-off RM10 billion expenditure.

The government has no control on foreign coal prices but government can control the domestic gas prices for electricity generation under the Gas Supply Act 2016 to insulate Malaysians from global fuel inflation. Malaysia has a lot of domestic natural gas. We are in fact the third biggest exporter of natural gas in the world.

A CCGT generates 50% more electricity (thermal efficiency) per unit fuel compared to coal leading to lower overall fuel consumption for electricity generation.

According to a report from the Energy Commission (2018), the current coal power plants are four times more prone to breakdowns compared to CCGTs.

Gas also produces about half the carbon dioxide compared to coal which will lead to an overall reduction in our national greenhouse gases by 10%.

We urge the government to modify coal power plants into CCGT power plants to improve our national economy, value of the Ringgit, energy security and the environment.

SHARAN RAJ
Central Committee
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
&
State Secretary
Parti Sosialis Malaysia Negeri Melaka (PSM Melaka)

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