Power sector in 2030
Renewable energy accounted for 17% of the power mix in 2019. To be 1.5°C compatible, renewables need to take a 73-77% share of the power generation mix by 2030 and around 100% by 2040.
The power sector needs to phase out fossil fuels. Coal accounted for 46% of the power mix in 2019. Coal generation in the power sector has grown 86% between 2010 and 2018. The Generation Development Plan (2021-2039) intends to reduce coal capacity by 4.2 GW by 2029 although there is 2.8 GW of new coal fired capacity in the pipeline. To be 1.5°C compatible, Malaysia would need to phase out coal by 2035, requiring new planned plants to be scrapped, and current capacity retired within 14 years.
Gas represented 37% of the power mix in 2019. Gas would need to be phased out by 2035-2038 to be 1.5°C compatible. However, the Generation Development Plan plans to bring new gas plants online by 2029, four more plants by 2030, and more still post 2030.
Towards a fully decarbonised power sector
The power sector could be fully decarbonised by around 2040. In 2019, the power emissions intensity was 660 gCO₂/kWh. A 1.5°C pathway would see this reduced to 140-170 gCO₂/kWh by 2030 and net negative up to -30 gCO₂/kWh by 2050.
The decarbonisation of the power sector would be driven by the acceleration of renewable energy, as renewables would represent 100% of the power mix by 2040.
Focusing on renewable energy in the power sector would reduce the need to rely on negative emissions technology which are unproven at scale and costly.
A rapid acceleration of renewable energy uptake would require Malaysia to cancel gas plans and focus on scaling up the renewable energy and solar targets. As other sectors are electrified, demand side management in a whole of system approach can support the management of grid stability.
An additional option would be to upgrade the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia interconnection to leverage renewable energy from other countries and support power system stability. The interconnection represents 1% of the capacity mix in 2021.