Coal as an energy resource in Malaysia

Author : Chen Shick Pei
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 399-410
Volume Number : 33
Year : 1993

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 33, Nov. 1993, pp. 399-410

Coal as an energy resource in Malaysia


Jabatan Kajibumi Malaysia, P.O. Box 560, 93712 Kuching, Sarawak


Abstract: Malaysia is well-endowed with energy resources, both fossil fuels as well as the renewable energy. Our oil resource can last 16 years at the current rate of depletion, gas more than 76 years and coal much longer based on the projected energy utilization plans. The location and distribution of some of these energy resources do not parallel those of population and energy demand centers. The four fuel energy strategy of the country assures adequate and secure energy supplies while at the same time promotes diversification and reduced dependence on oil. In the medium term, gas will emerge as the dominant fuel particularly in electricity generation, accounting for 70% of the generation mix, complemented by hydropower (18%), coal (9%) and oil (3%). This will be a dramatic change from the present composition of 33% oil, 22% hydropower, 35% gas and 10% coal. This change is inevitable because gas is abundant, easily available and accessible, easily handled and used and has lesser adverse effects on the environment. Large investments are already in place to encourage its greater use. Gas is also an economic fuel at the moment because of competitive pricing.

Use of coal as an energy source for cement manufacture and in power generation is relatively new. It is found to be competitive and is now the main source of energy for cement manufacture. Even at the prevailing low gas price, the electricity corporations also find coal to be more economical and they are seriously considering it as the fuel for their future plantup. After the year 2000 when gas price may be pegged to oil, electricity generation with coal may be the cheapest option.

We can foresee coal playing a greater role in the electricity generation mix after the year 2000. The coal resource in the country is as yet not tapped; it can be developed to meet the increased demand arising from the greater coal use in cement manufacture and electricity generation. A major consideration of greater coal use is its effects on the environment. If future clean coal technologies can mitigate or reduce various adverse effects on the environment, it will pave the way for even greater use of coal to and beyond 2010.