AwardTechnology Triumph:

Track 4A is
POWER’s Plant
of the Year

Winning POWER’s highest honor is Track 4A, Southern Power Generation’s 1.4-GW natural gas–fired power plant in southern Malaysia that is equipped with the first commercial GE 9HA.02 gas turbines—one of the world’s largest and most efficient power-generating models. Though jolted by the pandemic, an international team brought this first-of-a-kind plant online through innovative continuity efforts. The project is today a showcase of advanced technology integration and a meaningful model for balancing climate awareness, energy affordability, and reliability in power-hungry Southeast Asia.

AwardTechnology Triumph:

Track 4A is
POWER’s Plant
of the Year

Winning POWER’s highest honor is Track 4A, Southern Power Generation’s 1.4-GW natural gas–fired power plant in southern Malaysia that is equipped with the first commercial GE 9HA.02 gas turbines—one of the world’s largest and most efficient power-generating models. Though jolted by the pandemic, an international team brought this first-of-a-kind plant online through innovative continuity efforts. The project is today a showcase of advanced technology integration and a meaningful model for balancing climate awareness, energy affordability, and reliability in power-hungry Southeast Asia.

The award-winning project’s story began in 2014, when Malaysia’s Energy Commission (EC) awarded SIPP Energy, a private vehicle, a fast-track project tender—“Track 4A”—to build, by 2018, two 720-MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants in Pasir Gudang through its special purpose vehicle Southern Power Generation (SPG). At the time, Peninsular Malaysia was grappling with power disruptions, forcing Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Malaysia’s largest electrical utility and a private company that is wholly owned by the government, to repeatedly import power from Thailand and Singapore to stabilize the grid. The EC deemed Track 4A essential for Pasir Gudang, a mangrove-fringed city in the southernmost reach of mainland Asia in Peninsular Malaysia’s state of Johor, which has long shouldered the region’s industrial activity. Strategically located just across the narrow Johor strait from Singapore, the city functions as an important international port and services hub in Asia, bolstered by its palm oil, petrochemical, and IT industries.

TNB at first withdrew but then returned to the project in 2017 with the acquisition of a 51% share in SPG, citing approval from the EC, as well as expected “earnings accretive to TNB” upon Track 4A’s scheduled commercial operation date. TNB, notably, raised its share in SPG to 70% in September 2020.

As Rizal Nordin, managing director at SPG, told POWER in June, Track 4A’s commercial operation increased Peninsular Malaysia’s generating capacity to 25,962 MW. But it also helps the nation meet its climate ambitions, he said. In 2017, as project development ramped up, the country was working out its now-official nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement to reduce the intensity of its carbon emissions by 45% compared to 2005 levels by 2030. The country has also set a 20% renewable target by 2025. However, the EC suggests 11.6 GW of plant retirements, mostly coal-fired plants, are expected by 2029, which means Peninsular Malaysia will need at least 9.3 GW of new power capacity by the end of 2030 to meet demand growth and maintain system reliability.

Today, both Track 4A plants are fully operated and maintained by REMACO, a subsidiary of TNB Power Generation that develops, operates, and maintains the latter’s portfolio of power generating units. Owner SPG supplies power to TNB through a 21-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

Resource: POWER

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