Power Generation In Malaysia

Jaideep Patel takes a look at the different aspects of the power generation sector, that needs graduates from many different engineering disciplines to help solve Malaysia’s energy needs.
Jaideep Patel
Publisher, gradmalaysia.com

The power generation sector is an essential service industry that uses technologies ranging from the mature steam turbine to pioneering marine current turbines. Since privatisation in 1990, the main objective of the sector has been profitability for shareholders, although issues such as health, safety, sustainability and fuel poverty have also become increasingly important on the corporate agenda.

During privatisation, the industry was split into core components: generation, transmission and distribution networks, metering, and sales. The major players are worldwide companies that have a vertically integrated structure; meaning those who generate, distribute and sell power. Smaller entities and independent power producers (IPPs) sell their output to the major players.

Did you know?

The Energy Commission of Malaysia was created under the Energy Commission Act 2001 as a new regulator for the energy industry in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. The Commission was established to ensure that the energy industry is developed in an efficient manner so that Malaysia is ready to meet the new challenges of globalisation and liberalisation, particularly in the energy supply industry.

The commission regulates and promotes all matters relating to the electricity and gas supply industry within the scope of applicable legislation namely Electricity Supply Act 1990, License Supply Regulation 1990, Gas Supply Act 1993, Electricity Regulation 1994 and Gas Supply Regulation 1997. In performing its role, the commission takes the self-regulation approach.

Trends and developments in the energy industry

There is currently a resurgence of nuclear power around the world as current infrastructure comes to the end of its service life and new generation assets are required to avoid a ‘power crunch’. On local shores, government bodies such as the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) which is under the Prime Minister’s Department are setting clear guidelines and policies to promote the strategic development of infrastructure and utilities, which comprises:

  • roads and bridges
  • urban transport and rail
  • ports
  • airports
  • communications
  • water and sewage.

There is also the threat of a corresponding ‘skills crunch’ as the industry may not have enough engineers to develop and deliver energy solutions. Climate change is encouraging engineers to deploy sustainable energy solutions in a challenging commercial and regulatory environment. Engineers are contributing to the development of wind, hydro, wave, tidal, solar, biomass, combined heat and power, and micro-renewable technologies.

Some of the key policies set by the EPU concerning infrastructure and utilities include:

  • emphasising on long-term integrated planning and coordinated implementation of projects
  • having a comprehensive range of infrastructural facilities and amenities
  • promoting multi-modalism
  • using public transport and intelligent transport systems to reduce congestion
  • increasing efficiency, productivity and reliability of service
  • ensuring the availability of reliable infrastructure facilities and services at reasonable costs.

Source: www.epu.gov.my/en/infrastruktur-kemudahan-awam

What it’s like working in power generation

Commercial availability and profitability provide challenges on a daily basis as shortterm solutions need to be implemented quickly and safely. Long-term solutions must then be developed for the future. Circumstances change quickly and engineers play a key role in managing this change. Mobility is often required and projects can last from days to years. Typically, engineers work in small specialist teams, either in isolation or as part of a larger project group, and it is common to work on numerous projects simultaneously.

The highlights of a career in energy

  • Endless opportunities to tailor your role to your personal preferences and interests.
  • Exposure to all sizes and ages of plant and equipment.
  • An opportunity to be mentored by experienced engineers.

Getting a graduate engineering job in power generation

Engineers of almost all disciplines can join this industry by utilising key skills gained during any engineering degree. Employers seek engineers that have a good understanding of engineering concepts as well as the ability to assess risks, be decisive, manage projects, and lead people. Other general skills sought include teambuilding, communication, and planning; these will be tested at graduate assessment centres as part of the recruitment process. The graduate programmes available in the industry offer a fast track to chartered status and a wide range of work placements and development opportunities.

The power generation industry seeks engineering graduates in...

  • Chemical
  • Civil/structural
  • Control
  • Electrical
  • Electronics
  • Environmental
  • Instruments
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical
  • Physics
  • Power systems
  • Software