Malaysia’s utility company Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) is exploring carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen-based generation solutions to address the sustainable electricity consumption needs of the growing energy-guzzling data center industry.
Megat Jalaluddin Megat Hassan, TNB’s chief operating officer, noted that there are limitations to depending on solar energy as a sustainable energy source to power data centers, which require continuous uptime.
TNB is looking at CCS, hydrogen solutions to address data centre industry’s energy needs. (Photo: Freepik)
“Solar is a given for the country, but the challenge is that it is only available for four to five hours a day. You cannot cater for the whole 24 hours, so we must source a different kind of technology,” he said during a panel session at the NTT Data Inc Elevate 2023 Conference on Nov. 1.
Therefore, he said TNB is looking at hydrogen as a fuel for electricity generation, as well as integrating CCS for gas fired power plants.
Megat Jalaluddin said they are working with Petronas in exploring these potential solutions, with the application of CCS at TNB power generation plants now at feasibility study stage. In August last year, TNB signed a memorandum of understanding with Petronas for the development of green hydrogen ecosystem and CCS technology.
“By the end of this year, we will decide on how to proceed,” he said.
In seven years, Malaysia is set to see a net decrease of 1,561 MW from coal-based electricity generation as it phases towards a cleaner generation mix.
Commenting on this, Megat Jalaluddin said that the coutnry’s reserve margin of 30% to 40% is sufficient to fuel its consumption needs during the transitionary period.
Malaysia’s installed capacity breakdown in 2023 stands at gas accounting for 37.9% (14,584 MW), followed by coal at 33.69% (12,962 MW), renewable energy at 27.05% (10,410 MW) and diesel at 1.36% (522 MW), according to the latest meeting of Power Development Plan Planning and Implementation Committee.
By 2030, the breakdown is estimated to comprise 38.94% (19,098 MW) gas-based generation, 37.81% (18,545 MW) from renewables, and coal at 23.25% (11,401 MW).