Malaysia – renewables replacing nuclear, but coal still on the cards


Malaysia will continue to embrace and develop thermal power capacity for the next decade and beyond, which will see an increase of 5 GW of coal and gas capacity.

And renewables, particularly wind and solar, will also rise by 2.8 GW, according to a new report which explores the make-up of the country’s energy mix to 2030.

However, the study by analytics company GlobalData points out that rise of renewables will come at the expense of nuclear, which has seen new build plans stall because of strong public opposition.

As a net importer of electricity, Malaysia is primarily dependent on thermal resources for electricity generation and, although it possesses substantial fuel reserves, it faces the risk of declining energy security. 

Last year, gas-fired power dominated Malaysia’s power portfolio, with a share of 43 per cent of total installed capacity. Coal and oil followed with 30.4 and 5.9 per cent respectively, while hydropower held a 17.2 per cent. But other renewables together accounted for less than 4 per cent of the total capacity.

The government had planned to adopt nuclear power to help wean itself off fossil fuel imports and, in turn, cut greenhouse gas emissions. It got so far as setting up a Nuclear Power Development Steering Committee and deployed three working groups to co-ordinate a nuclear plan. But the initiative was shelved following widespread public opposition.

GlobalData power analyst Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham said that “progressive economic reforms and a continuous increase in industrial activity are expected to boost economic progress in Malaysia, driving the country’s GDP at a compound annual growth rate of 4.8 per cent during the forecast period. In addition, increasing population will result in a significant increase in electricity consumption.”  

Malaysia plays host to 2019’s Asian Utility Week, from 3-4 September in Kuala Lumpur, which is colocated with POWERGEN Asia. Don’t miss it.

This story first appeared on our sister-site, Power Engineering International.