Saturday 20 Jul 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 9): The government is reviewing the renewable energy export ban, said Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad. 

NRECC will also introduce a framework for third party access (TPA) for the national grid in the third quarter of this year. 

The ban, announced by the previous government in October 2021, remains in place, the minister said. However, if Malaysia does export RE, it can and must sell at market rates or even above that due to strong demand in the international market for it, he added. 

"There has been a few discussions in the Cabinet where the NRECC together with the Ministry of Economy and Miti (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) were asked to look into the pros and cons... not just the [RE] exports but also the cross-border electricity trade.

"It is happening now, because PM brought up [the matter] in the Cabinet twice. I will have to present a paper soon," Nik Nazmi told reporters at a press conference after launching the Malaysia Energy Transition Outlook report here.

In his keynote address earlier, Nik Nazmi said RE exports at market rates will subsequently give the country the wherewithal to scale up on RE, including to make technology cheaper and introduce new technologies like battery storage that will not be attractive if supplied at Malaysia's tariff rates, he added. 

"We also don't have to sell all the green electrons produced to ensure Malaysian industries benefit [as well]. This is not a zero-sum game," he said. 

Exporting RE presents fascinating opportunities for Malaysia as a possible centre of the Asean power grid, Nik Nazmi said. He pointed to Singapore, which is using Malaysian grid to buy up to 100MW of electricity generated in Laos from hydro power.

"We can leverage from the strong demand from our neighbours and create a financial framework to decarbonise," Nik Nazmi added. 

Aside from banning RE exports, the current regulation also limits non-renewable exports capped at 100 megawatts (MW) at the time. 

The same month Malaysia announced the RE export ban in October 2021, Singapore said it would issue two Requests for Proposal for up to a total of four gigawatts of low-carbon electricity imports into the island-state by 2035.

In January this year, YTL Power International Bhd's wholly owned subsidiary in Singapore collaborated with Tenaga Nasional Bhd's (TNB) unit to supply 100MW of electricity from Malaysia to Singapore via the newly upgraded interconnector.

On the TPA access for the national grid, plans for such framework was previously scheduled to be prepared by end-2022, according to the now-defunct Malaysia Electricity Supply Industry 2.0 masterplan rolled out by the Pakatan Harapan government in late-2019. 

Grid TPA will allow a power producer to sell power directly to a consumer, requiring only to pay a "toll" or wheeling charges to grid operator TNB. 

Edited ByLam Jian Wyn
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