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KUALA LUMPUR: You, too, can be an independent power producer. It doesn’t have to be only large favoured companies making money by selling power to Tenaga Nasional. Anyone can do it.
That’s the plan that Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming wants the government’s energy authorities to adopt.
His idea is that the government should introduce “net metering” so that power generated in private houses and commercial areas, usually through solar panels, could be sold to the energy company.
By this means householders and owners of commercial property could also become power producers, not just large companies.
They could sell power to TNB by creating electricity through rooftop solar panels, with the amount sold credited to their electricity accounts; consumers would then only have to pay the difference between what they had used and what they have supplied.
Ong said in a statement today that net metering would allow many more property owners to become power suppliers, with less need for large-scale new power generating plants, or land for new plants. He pointed out tht a RM1.3 billion coal-fired plant in Lahad Datu was cancelled because of protests by residents and environmentalists.
He said the government had awarded contracts for large-scale coal and gas-fired power plants to meet a project’s 30% increase in electricity demand, from 17,697mW (megaWatts) in 2015 to 23,000MW in 2025.
Among those were a now-delayed controversial 2000MW coal-fired plant to be built by the controversial government-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
Net metering would be better than the current “feed-in tariff” system by which people must apply to be allowed to supply electricity. Under the FiT quota, only 2,448 individuals and 252 others had been given FiT approval up to 2013.
He said the quotas were always oversubscribed by many times. Net metering would solve this problem and allow many more to supply renewable energy, and help smooth out peak demand for electricity, which is usually during working hours when air-conditioning are running full blast and factories are operating at full capacity.
“This is also the time when the solar power generating potential is at its highest,” he said. With more solar panels connected to the grid, power plants would be relieved of the burden of generating electricity to meet peak demand.
He said the installed capacity was 21,060MW in 2014 and peak demand was only 17,152MW but there were times when TNB had to produce more from gas-fired plants, which burns more expensive oil, because some coal-fired plants had broken down or were not operational.
There would be minimal connection costs for net metering compared to power plants and other power generating sources far from population centers.