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The Power of Reimagination: Day 1 CEPSI 2018

It has been 22 years since Malaysia last hosted the Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI). The energy and power sector are evolving globally and, in order to stay relevant, this annual conference is the biggest and most important event organised by the Association of the Electricity Supply Industry of East Asia and Western Pacific (AESIEAP). This year’s event brings together 2,000 delegates from 30 countries to the KLCC Conference Centre. The vision of imagination and reimagination for utilities in the future are supported through knowledge sharing and showcases by global, leading industrial players. Decarbonisation, Decentralisation and Digitisation are the mega trends of this three day event.

The opening keynote leadership speech was by Datuk Seri Ir. Azman Mohd., President of AESIEAP 2017/2018 and President and CEO of the event host, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). Datuk Azman introduced the vision of reimagining TNB by outlining the themes of winning customers, regulation, embracing the industry 4.0 revolution and digitisation to increase efficiency. The goals are providing clear solutions and a better life for customers.

The future needs require transformation, reinvention and disruption

Leaders of the power industry from the Philippines, China and South Korea led the opening segment with their respective key note speeches. Ronnie Aperocho, VP of Meralco Philippines, emphasised that future needs require transformation, reinvention and disruption for power and energy to stay relevant. Mr. Aperocho highlighted key trends such as moving from consumers to prosumers, who can produce the energy they consume, cost reduction and legislation for renewable energy leading to greenification.

Liu Zhenya, Chairman of China Electricity Council (CEC), described the challenges of a coal dominated energy sector leading to environmental pollution with technical solutions provided by hydro, wind and solar power. The One Belt One Road initiative has seen cooperation in the energy sector with Russia, Vietnam, Laos and Ethiopia amongst others. Another key priority is the interconnected power grids that distribute clean energy across regions.

Bong-Soo Ha, EVP of Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), expressed concern that South Korea had recently experienced the hottest July and August in 111 years stating that power plants aim to produce 20% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030. Following the ‘FANG’ group of companies’ evolution in the US, he expressed the desire to see the move towards an ‘energy platform’ where companies provide all kinds of services to consumers.

The Honourable Yeo Bee Yin, the new and youthful Malaysian MESTECC Minister offered a lighthearted and philosophical look at reimagining a low carbon future world. Using quotes from Einstein and Tesla, she highlighted the trend of decarbonising, without decreasing growth, by electrification. The question to be answered is how do we make the market more efficient without increasing electricity prices?’ A touching thought was given to those in small kampung areas who may go out of business if the price of electricity increases slightly and Y.B. suggesting subsidies for those in need.

Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Malaysia

A moderated panel discussion by global energy leaders from Tesla, Siemens and McKinsey & Co. illustrated the profound shifts in energy production around the world and the steps and innovation required to move with changing times. Significant declining costs in clean energy production were highlighted with the following five trends; digitisation, decentralisation, electrifying mobility, corporate procurement and investor risk management.

from electric eels to electric cars

Ending the first day on a high note, Hon. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, delivered a softly spoken, entertaining special address on the power needed to run a country. Ranging from electric eels to electric cars, the need to mitigate pollution and maintain reliability, Dr. Mahathir justified not using nuclear power in Malaysia due to issues in risks from accidents and the challenges of waste disposal.

All in all, Day 1 of CEPSI 2018 proved to be an energetic start to a powerful three-day affair. Visionaries from across the world converged to share their thoughts through today’s sessions, delivering ideas, thoughts, and plans bound to shape the industry in years to come.

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