The information final week was grim. The haze apart, what actually blew a fuse in me was the approval of a brand new energy plant. All this whereas, I’ve been affected person and pragmatic about awaiting reforms. However this jolted me into shock.
With a RM1tril nationwide debt – which strange folks have been contributing in direction of a 12 months in the past – why are we investing in a dear venture we don’t want? Frankly, the nation wants a brand new energy plant like we want a yacht from Jho Low.
The RM3.5bil contract awarded to Tadmax Sources to develop a plant in Pulau Indah, Klang, ought to have been independently scrutinised, say business specialists, most of whom are in opposition to it.
Some specialists additionally query awarding the contract to an organization with no expertise within the subject, although Tadmax has apparently roped in Korean Electrical Energy Corp for the related expertise. And it appears a deal is imminent for an additional energy plant in Kedah.
We’re approving energy vegetation we don’t want, leaving us with far more energy than we’ll ever want whereas additionally polluting the atmosphere. Such offers are additionally binding for 20 years or so, limiting provide choices, similar to utilizing cleaner power to sort out the local weather disaster.
Is that this not insanity? In some unspecified time in the future, you and I, as customers, can pay for this. Presently, subsidies preserve our tariffs low. The sector is already encumbered with heavy prices.
We produce far more energy than we’ll ever want. Our “reserve margin”, or technology capability above peak demand, was 36% in Peninsular Malaysia within the 2017 Power Fee report, however this has since risen.
Why a lot capability? As a result of we’ve got so many energy vegetation. Why so many vegetation? Suffice to say that the power business is among the most profitable round with alternatives for billion-dollar offers.
A small quantity of extra capability is cheap, in case of emergencies. However our determine is tremendous excessive! Add within the Pulau Indah deal and the Kedah plant, and that extra might shoot as much as a staggering 50%, an business knowledgeable disclosed.
On high of this, the federal government pays unbiased energy producers a “capability cost” – like a month-to-month lease – all through the lifetime of the plant. That is along with paying for electrical energy generated and gasoline prices. The plant will run whether or not or not we want the electrical energy. And we can pay for it.
Contemplate this analogy. Think about if we constructed 10 spanking new trendy sports activities stadiums – however by no means used them. But we nonetheless pay a month-to-month lease for them. Are you able to think about the outrage? That is the extent of waste. It’s surprising.
Final 12 months, the federal government stated they might evaluation plans for eight new energy vegetation. They determined to axe 4 vegetation with contracts missing aggressive costs and made in “direct negotiations” quite than open tender.
Plus, these offers would have hiked the reserve margin as much as 46%, Yeo Bee Yin, the Power, Science, Expertise, Surroundings and Local weather Change Minister, stated in August final 12 months. Yeo additionally promised then: “In future, any company that wants to be involved in the power sector should only go for open tenders.”
So the place is the open tender now? The place is the oversight, the transparency? Be aware in some international locations, a choose committee – not a minister or Cupboard – should approve massive initiatives.
To construct 50% extra capability than wanted is an appalling waste of cash and sources. Plus there’s the horrible price to the atmosphere. The primary driver of our energy provide is coal, ie, “soiled power”. Burning it releases black carbon, which, just like the haze, incorporates ultrafine, lethal particulates.
Different international locations are desperately making an attempt to chop out coal and change to photo voltaic power, which is now less expensive and entails no gasoline prices. However we’re jacking up burning fossil fuels and fouling our air after we don’t even want the facility!
Additionally, we’ve got a lot work to do with effectivity. For instance, we want extra “cogeneration” vegetation, which may double effectivity by recovering and reusing the warmth produced in energy vegetation. (Typical energy vegetation are shockingly inefficient).
In Germany, this warmth is usually used to heat homes, in what is named “district heating”. We might use it for air-conditioning. Cogeneration vegetation might serve small industrial areas with out being linked to the nationwide grid. The potential for financial savings are enormous.
The ability business has gone by a lot upheaval. For years, there have been requires larger transparency, higher effectivity and cleaner, greener know-how.
However there was restricted room to manoeuvre, as a result of the business was so straitjacketed by unhealthy offers that served not the pursuits of customers or the nation however unbiased energy producers, who accrued enormous income.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pledged the federal government would fight corruption to develop Malaysia Baharu and would additionally shield the atmosphere. Let’s make good on that promise. We’d like electrical energy reform. This new plant has no place within the New Malaysia.
Human Writes columnist Mangai Balasegaram writes totally on well being but in addition delves into something on being human. She has labored with worldwide public well being our bodies and has a Masters in public well being. Write to her at email@example.com. The views expressed listed here are fully the author’s personal.
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