Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Malaysia's first solar power plant

Thestar: Wednesday February 23, 2011


TNB to call for tender for the project in Putrajaya soon PETALING JAYA: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has completed the pre-qualification tender process for Malaysia's first solar power plant to be located in Putrajaya. The utility will “very soon” call for tenders for the project that is estimated to cost some RM60mil, according to TNB president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh.
The plant's generating capacity may be too small to make the profit-minded or renewable energy advocates jump, but it marks a major step forward in the country's drive to harness renewable energy sources to wean itself from an over-reliance on fossil fuels, which will run out one day, and its impact on climate change.
In an interview with StarBiz, Che Khalib said the solar power plant would take 12 months for completion and would be located in the buffer zone of an existing power station in Putrajaya.
“One of the main concerns about solar power is the need for large tracts of land. So, we've decided to build the solar power on the 500m buffer area in the existing power plant,” he said. “The added advantage is that the cost will also be lower as there is already a substation in the location and we can immediately connect to the system.”
Solar power and other renewable energy sources feature prominently in the Economic Transformation Programme
The cost of a solar power plant is estimated at US$4mil per megawatt (MW). For perspective, that makes it roughly six times more costly than putting up an open cycle gas-fired plant, four times more expensive than a combined-cycle gas plant and just under three times higher than a coal-fired plant.
“But that's not exactly an apple-to-apple comparison as coal and combined-cycle plants can go up to 80% load factor whereas a solar plant can only run on peak load,” said an industry analyst.
Che Khalib said: “This is our initiative. We know it's not going to give us an economic return based on the current tariff system but this will be a learning process for us. By doing this, we will have a head-start in terms of knowledge. Also, when we receive proposals for solar power, we will know (what it takes to set up such a plant).”
TNB will implement the project based on three types of solar technology silicon, thin film and polycrystalline. (There are various technologies used in the making of solar panels and they vary in terms of cost, panel surface, durability and longevity.)
“It will be 2:2:1 in any combination to provide our people with the knowledge of how solar projects can be implemented in the country,” he elaborated.
While Malaysia has a rich supply of sunlight and should be aggressively tapping solar power, Che Khalib said one dampener was the clouds which could diminish the efficiency of solar panels. Secondly, he pointed out that unlike some Western nations, Malaysia did not have unproductive land.
“The US has a lot of desert. They can't do anything much with the desert so they put up solar panels there. In Malaysia, there will be a trade-off as its soil is fertile. There will be an economic trade-off. We can still pursue it, but it's a question of cost and economic feasibility.”
Solar power, as well as other renewable energy sources, feature prominently in the Government's Economic Transformation Programme. Under the energy Entry Point Programme, the target is for Malaysia to build solar power capacity up to 1.25 gigawatt by 2020. The plan has also set a renewable energy target of 5.5% of total capacity mix in 2015, from less than 1% of energy mix today.
Globally, major countries have set far more ambitious targets in the race to be leaders in the realm of clean energy, including solar power or photovoltaic power generation. As it stands now, Taiwan boasts of having Asia's largest power plant which sits on a 2ha site and is capable of generating 100MW of clean energy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

KBE, BSolar in solar project

Thestar: Tuesday February 22, 2011

PETALING JAYA: KUB-Berjaya Enviro Sdn Bhd (KBE) and Berjaya Solar Sdn Bhd (BSolar) will develop a RM3mil-RM5mil 100kW pilot solar power plant project in Bukit Tagar, Selangor, they said in a statement yesterday.
KBE is the concessionaire of the Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill and is a 60:40 joint venture berween Berjaya Corp Bhd and KUB Malaysia Bhd. BSolar is involved in solar power installation and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berjaya Corp.
The pilot project is expected to be developed in the second quarter of this year, both companies said in a statement yesterday

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cyberjaya to have solar-powered bus shelters soon

TheStar: Feb 9, 2011

All ears: The participants listening to Norasiah during the forum.
SOLAR-powered bus shelters and covered carparks are among the plans for Cyberjaya’s green projects for the upcoming year.
These and issues like solid waste production, urban planning and public transportation schemes, were discussed at the recent Information on Green Technology (iGreet) seminar, but it will take more than buzz words to change Selangor’s environmental report card.
Organised by Cyberview, the first session of iGREET for 2011 brought together representatives from across industry sectors and government departments to introduce green technology possibilities to the Cyberjaya community especially with Cyberjaya’s developers and stakeholders in mind.
Speakers at the event included Selangor Town and Country Planning Department deputy director Norasiah Bee Mohd Haniff, who touted the conference as “a chance to share knowledge and experience in order to move towards developing green technology in this state and the country.”
But she was also quick to stress the importance of transforming Selangor’s metropolises into green cities that are self-contained and well-planned before it is too late.
“We need sustainable development to remedy these environmental wrongs,” she warned. “We cannot deny the local environment’s status in Selangor — issues still exist. It’s not a choice anymore, it’s a must.”
Green cities are compact with open spaces and green corridors, maximising the efficiency of urban land to meet current needs without jeopardising resource availability for future generations.

Norasiah said this vision could only be achieved by enforcing best planning practices and by regenerating dilapidated regions in order to strike a balance between development and the environment.
She urged her department and other government sectors to better regulate development in collaboration with developers to create green cities.
“Gone are the days when we can just put through all the developments that fall onto our lap.
“We must be selective with our developments and we must also work to phase out polluting industries by moving them towards cleaner mechanisms in their daily operations,” she said.
While Selangor is currently the only state with a commitment to sustainable development in Malaysia, it is also one of the most heavily polluted.
With high population density, rapid sprawl and an urbanisation rate expected to reach 94% by 2020, Selangor is one of Malaysia’s least eco-friendly states.
Another issue high on the iGreet agenda was solid waste generation, with Selangor’s large manufacturing and construction sectors contributing heavily to pollution in the region.
Community members at the forum said existing initiatives to combat solid waste production, such as the “No plastic bags on Saturdays” and Pay As You Throw (PAYT) regulations, are too limited and need to be expanded.
Selangor currently produces more than 4,300 tonnes of waste per day, with estimates suggesting this figure will rise to 5,500 tonnes per day by the year 2020.
Strategies were also suggested to change the current modal split between public and private transportation.
Currently, the statewide ratio of private and public transportation is 90:10 respectively.
There are plans under the 2009 economic stimulus package to reduce this disparity to a 50:50 split by the year 2020 as part of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP). However, participants debated whether these goals were realistic, given that reduction targets at the federal level were revised down to a 30:70 split after a review of the second national physical plan.
Selangor Department of Environ-ment assistant director (Develop-ment) Amirul Aripin, said an important initial step towards achieving a green future would be to make people think of themselves as “environmental citizens”.
“Our goals cannot be reliant on government action alone,” he said.
“All individuals have a role to play in becoming environmental citizens, citizens of planet earth.”
He said individuals should conduct “purposeful action” towards greener living by taking simple steps at home, such as turning off taps after use, buying energy efficient appliances, and installing water-saving devices in showers and toilets.
But as participants at the forum suggested, opportunities to enact environmental citizenship are limited without new infrastructure, such as separate bins for recycling and garbage and a holistic waste management system.
The recent iGreet forum was the seventh of the series, which aims to support the government’s aspiration to develop Cyberjaya as a pioneer green city.
It was also the first session to be open to the public.
Among the ambitious green energy plans on the horizon in Cyberjaya are solar panels on bus shelters and carpark shelters, shaded pedestrian walkways and cycle paths to help reduce the region’s carbon footprint.
In Cyberjaya, around 2,500 less vehicles each day use the roads due to an integrated public transport system, with free parking at bus stops and free shuttle services helping to ease traffic congestion.
The iGreet initiative has future plans to broaden its educational arms through school visits and social media to further engage the community with the latest in green technology.