Malaysia mulls P2P energy trading and renewable energy certificates

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Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia’s energy and environment minister, gave a press briefing this week on the country’s renewable energy policy. She said the government is currently working on a Renewable Energy Transition Roadmap (RETR) through to 2035 that will include strategies and action plans to reach its renewable energy target of 20% by 2025. The roadmap is still in the early planning stage but a final version will be published by the end of the year, Yeo said.

The ministry has already disclosed that it is examining programs under which customers would have the option to buy 100% renewable energy from power utilities. Additionally, it is assessing the potential costs and benefits of a market for mandatory renewable energy certificates (RECs). At the moment, the REC market is purely voluntary. Lastly, the minister said that Malaysia will look into the possibility of enabling virtual net metering and peer-to-peer energy trading for solar prosumers.

The press briefing included an update on the country’s net-metering program. Last October, the energy minister announced plans to make the nation’s net-metering regime more attractive by moving to offset surplus energy fed back into the grid on a like for like basis, rather than forcing prosumers to accept a lower displaced cost for excess energy. Malaysian newspaper The Star reports that prosumers currently must pay MYR 0.50 ($0.12) per kilowatt hour for electricity, but receive only MYR 0.31 in return for their surplus energy.

In her update, Yeo claimed that the amendment has already started to bear fruit, as 500 MW of capacity has been allocated for the net-metering program. She said that thanks to a successful communications campaign, the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) has witnessed a steep uptake in installations. Over the last two months, there have been 11 MW  of applications for the program, compared to just 18 MW over the preceding 12 months. To date, SEDA has approved 38 MW, of which 10 MW is operational.

Yeo explained that net metering has created new solar PV business opportunities in the behind-the-meter market, such as solar leasing and power purchase agreements, or a combination thereof.

The country is not just focusing on small-scale systems, however. In February, the ministry announced a third tender for 500 MW of PV.   The tender for the project — Projek Loji Jana Kuasa Solar Berskala Besar Pusingan Ketiga, or Large Scale Solar (LSS) 3 — is the third round of the country’s procurement program for large-scale PV. The project, comprising solar parks ranging in size from 1-100 MW, is expected to raise around MYR 2 billion ($490 million) of investment, the ministry said in a statement. The second LSS auction attracted 1.6 GW of proposals, with bids ranging from MYR 0.33-0.53/kWh.