Malaysia aims to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2044

KUALA LUMPUR (June 25): Malaysia has drawn up a phase-out plan to reduce its existing coal-fired power plants by 50 percent by 2035 and phase them out completely by 2044, Deputy Prime Minister Fadilah Yusof said at the London Climate Action Week.

Fadilah, who is also Minister of Energy and Water Transition, was speaking at a High-Level Dialogue session on the global coal phase-out, an event hosted by the Powering Past Coal Alliance, co-chaired by the UK and Canada, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The announcement comes after Malaysia pledged in 2022 to build no new coal-fired power plants after 2040.

“Malaysia is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 despite accounting for only 0.8% of global emissions. However, recognising our vital role in our collective efforts to mitigate climate change, we are now consciously moving away from coal-fired power generation.
“Currently, electricity generation accounts for a large proportion of our emissions, almost half,” Fadilla said.

“We are steadily [that] “This transition is balanced and fair in minimizing economic disruption while maintaining a stable and reliable energy supply to our people and industry,” he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister acknowledged that job losses as a result of the phase-out could pose social and economic challenges, and said the Government was developing retraining programmes to equip affected workers with new skills and capabilities for the green economy.

“At the same time, it is facilitating rapid growth in the deployment of renewable energy, creating huge new opportunities for both our people and industry,” he said.

Fadilah highlighted Malaysia’s National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR) goal of increasing renewable energy (RE) capacity to 70 percent by 2050, through the adoption of energy sources such as solar, biomass and waste-to-energy. Other initiatives mentioned include the modernisation of the power grid and the Malaysian Energy Exchange, which was launched earlier this year to enable cross-border trading of RE.

The goal of completely phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2044 is slightly faster than NETR’s estimate, which projected a near-complete phase-out by 2045, due to the natural retirement schedule of existing plants and the lack of development of new coal-fired power plants.

Tenaga Nasional (KL:TENAGA) announced in August 2022 that it would phase out some of its coal-fired power plants earlier than planned.

According to NETR, coal accounted for 26.4% of the country’s total primary energy supply (TPES) composition as of 2020. Meanwhile, natural gas held the largest share at 42.4%, and renewable energy was at 3.9%.

In NETR’s responsible transition pathway, natural gas will play a key role in replacing coal, accounting for more than half of TPES by 2050.

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