Natural gas makes more economic, environmental sense

THE Government should tap into Malaysia’s large reservoir of natural gas instead of continuing its purchase of coal from Indonesia to cut costs.  

“The Government should look into protecting our long-term energy security and affordability by ditching foreign coal.

“Switching from coal to natural gas involves only minor renovation to our coal power stations, in order to allow them to burn natural gas instead of coal,” Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member Sharan Raj told FocusM

On the economics, Sharan said that the Government had spent billions to purchase coal from Indonesia for years and the price keeps going up.

“It’s just that due to COVID-19, coal prices have dropped and we purchased them for RM9.3 bil this year, which is 0.6% of our gross domestic product (GDP).

“However, coal prices are projected to rebound next year as Indonesia plans to slash coal production by 9% this year, which may up the price tag to RM15 bil.

“So far, we have used money from Kumpulan Wang Industri Elektrik to fund the Bantuan Prihatin Elektrik (BPE), so Putrajaya’s ability to subsidise coal imports are limited.

Sharan Raj

“Therefore, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) would have no choice but to raise tariffs, especially for the industrial and commercial sectors, which in turn, will cause food prices to soar, hurting our people and exports,” he said.

Lowers greenhouse emissions

Sharan said that by converting to domestic natural gas, the Government will have more power to control prices due to local laws.

“Under the Gas Supply Act 2016, the energy minister has the authority to regulate gas prices in Malaysia.

“So even if natural gas prices spike globally, we will have the power to regulate pricing domestically,” he said.

In terms of carbon emission, the PSM leader said natural gas emits lower greenhouse gases compared to coal power stations.

“Natural gas emits 50% lower in carbon emission, per kilowatt/hour, compared to coal. So, it will help reduce Malaysia’s annual carbon footprint,” said Sharan. – Dec 1, 2020.

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