Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Decision needed soon on coal fired power plant - Energy Commission has shortlisted 3 sites for the coal-fired facility

Decision needed soon on coal fired power plant - Energy Commission has shortlisted 3 sites for the coal-fired facility

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government needs to decide soon on the details of a new coal-fired power plant aimed at resolving a predicted power shortage in the peninsula in 2015, said Energy Commission chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali.

“There is an urgency to finalise the project. There will be a power shortage in 2015 as initially 1,600MW is supposed to be transmitted to the peninsula from Bakun dam.

“However, the (1,600MW supply) plan has been scrapped thus the shortage and the need for a new plant,” Tajuddin said yesterday on the sidelines of Energy Forum 2010: Securing A Sustainable Energy Future for Malaysia.

"We (the commission) are trying to make sure a fast decision will be made,” he said, adding that the decision on the project, including the company that will undertake it, would be made by the Government.

Electricity consumption per capita in Malaysia now stands at about 3,412 kilowatt-hours per annum, significantly higher than most developing countries, but still below the average in developed countries.

It is projected to more than double to reach 7,571 kWh per person in 2030, higher than that of the Apec region average at 6,833 kWh per person.

Tajuddin said the commission was currently working on site proposals for the new coal-fired power plant.

“We have a few options but due to the limited gas supply in the long term, we have decided on a coal-fired plant,” he said, adding that such plant could be completed in 42 months.

Tajuddin said the commission had shortlisted three sites – Tanjung Bin power plant in south Johor (owned by MMC Corp Bhd), Jimah plant in Negri Sembilan (Jimah Power) and Manjung power plant in Perak (Tenaga Nasional Bhd) – for the new plant.

“These are some of the sites that we have identified to ensure a station capable of producing up to 1,000MW will be able to start generating power by 2015,” he said.

Tajuddin said there might be a need for higher capacity or more plants later but initially, the Government would choose one of the three shortlisted sites for the first plant.

“We can build a new station at other places but due to the lack of time, we have to build it fast to address the shortage. In future, we may build at other places.

“It will take more time if we are to build it at other sites. We need to conduct site investigation and site preparation, among others,” he said.

Earlier, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) president and CEO Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh told StarBiz the company was studying to expand the generation capacity of its coal-fired power plant in Manjung, Perak.

This is to ensure that its electricity reserves margin does not drop below 20% by 2016.

Meanwhile, MMC Corp Bhd may propose to the Government to expand its Tanjung Bin power plant by 800MW to increase its power supply in the peninsula by 2015.

On the Renewable Energy Act, Khalib expects it to be tabled in Parliament by the year-end.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Nuclear Agency director-general Datuk Dr Daud Mohamad was quoted by Bernama as saying that the country’s first nuclear power plant may be built on an uninhabited island.

He said the agency had studied five or six sites in the peninsula, of which one or two were islands.

Pre-feasibility studies, conducted by TNB in consultation with the agency, is ongoing while the full feasibility studies will be carried out after the site had been identified.

On the cost of building it, Daud said a 1,000MGW nuclear power plant would require US$2bil to US$3bil.

The Star 10 August 2010.

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