Coal-fired Power Plant is not a Sustainable Option | WWF Malaysia

Coal-fired Power Plant is not a Sustainable Option

Posted on 27 September 2013
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25 September 2013, Kota Kinabalu: WWF-Malaysia has serious concerns over the recent announcement by the Federal Government to revive the coal-fired power plant project in the east coast of Sabah.

“Coal-fired power plant is not a sustainable option from the perspectives of long-term energy security, health and environment. We urge the government not to proceed with the coal-fired power plant plan but to explore and expand green energy resources.” said WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius S K Sharma.

Malaysia is already quite heavily dependent on imported coal for its power generation, particularly coal from Indonesia. Coal imports will rise if Malaysia chooses to build more coal-fired power plants. This will make the country even more susceptible to potential external volatilities such as fluctuation in global coal prices and interruption in supply.

Coal generated power plants are one of the single largest contributors to global warming. The global warming phenomenon threatens both the environment and the economies of every nation in the world including Malaysia.

Coal burning also compromises the health of the public through air and water pollution. It releases sulphur dioxide that pollutes the air and causes acid rain, nitrogen oxides that results in smog, particulate matter, mercury and other harmful pollutants. When these chemicals are circulating in the air, small acidic particulates penetrate human and wildlife lungs and are absorbed into the bloodstream, burn lung tissues, increase asthma attacks and increase risk in chronic respiratory diseases.

One way to mitigate the potential external volatilities is to diversify our energy sources by increasing renewable energy (RE) sources and improving energy efficiency (EE).

Malaysia should honour its commitment made at ASEAN, i.e., to increase the development and utilization of RE sources to achieve the 15% target share of RE in ASEAN power generation mix by 2015.

“Sabah has 1.4 million hectares of palm oil plantations and these plantations generate tonnes of waste like empty fruit bunch (EFB), palm kernel shell (PKS) and decanter cake, which can be turned into renewable energy. By promoting this, WWF-Malaysia believes that Sabah is able to contribute to the Government’s target for RE and also contribute towards the nation’s aspiration of reducing greenhouse gases emissions intensity of GDP by 2020.” Dr Dionysius says.

Another cost-effective alternative is to reduce energy demand by improving energy efficiency in the state. This involves better use of energy through both the use of technology and the promotion of individual behaviour, working methods and industrial practices which are less energy-intensive. This requires enhancement of institutional and human capacity emphasizing the development of energy efficiency technology and service providers in the country, and encouraging private sector participation, especially financial institutions to support EE investment and implementation.

“Eastern Sabah is home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna and we are blessed to live with endemic species of plants and animals. To build a coal-fired power plant will surely have repercussion on the already fragile ecosystem and on the health of residence in the area.” Dr Dionysius said.

- Ends -

For further information:

Kimberly Chung, Communications Officer, WWF-Malaysia (Sabah Office)
Tel: +6088-262 420 ext 37 Email:

Yeoh Lin Lin, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603-78033772 ext 6400 Email:
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