JOHOR BARU, Mar 18 — The Johor government will push for federal government approval for the proposed RM1.4 billion Sultan Ibrahim Solar Park in Pengerang as it is seen as beneficial to the state.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the state government will likely request for a special allocation for Johor to develop the solar park.

“We will propose to the Energy Commission of Malaysia as soon as possible for Johor to be given a special allocation quota.

“As a start, we hope to be given a 100 to 150 MW quota to at least start the solar park project,” said Hasni when met at the Johor Media Club dinner last night.

He disclosed the matter after several reporters asked about the status of the Sultan Ibrahim Solar Park that was supposed to have been launched this month.

Hasni said the federal government did not approve the project as it is understood that this year’s quota under the country’s Large Scale Solar (LSS) procurement programme has been taken up.

“Despite that, I am confident that the state government can propose and push for an additional quota allocation for Johor.

“There is a lot of potential for Johor to tap into the sustainable energy industry,” said Hasni.

Hasni, who was a former state executive committee chairman under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government, said that Johor will benefit from the solar park.

“The Sultan Ibrahim Solar Park will be able to sell the energy to interested parties, including neighbouring countries.

“This in turn will provide a new income stream for the state government as well,” Hasni said.

The Benut assemblyman explained that renewable and sustainable energy from solar power will attract big data centres to the state.

“At present, the TM One Data Centre in Medini, Iskandar Puteri and the Kulai Iskandar Data Exchange (Kidex) in Senai are currently at Tier 3 in their energy usage.

“With the data centres potential to be powered by solar energy, these data centres will then be upgraded to Tier 4, thus attracting more companies in setting up their data centres here in Johor,” said Hasni.

He said Microsoft Corp’s data centre project in Sedenak is also targeted as a possible user of solar energy for their operations.

On February 28, it was reported that Johor is set to become a major producer of renewable energy in South-east Asia, with the opening of the Sultan Ibrahim Solar Park in Pengerang, Kota Tinggi worth RM1.4 billion.

The commissioning of the project’s power plant by 2023 will make it the biggest of its kind in the region with a capacity of 450 megawatts.

The solar park is the first large-scale private investment project secured by the state for 2021.

However, on March 9, Sultan Ibrahim cancelled the ground-breaking ceremony of the project, which was supposed to be held on March 23, after the federal government’s silence on the matter.

The Sultan Ibrahim Solar Park, which is the first large-scale private investment project secured by the state for 2021, came from Sultan Ibrahim’s efforts to encourage investment and economic development for the people and Johor.

The project is also in line with the 2030 Johor Sustainable Development Plan which places major emphasis on environmental preservation and protection as part of the state’s economic development plan for a more prosperous society.

It will also have a positive economic spill-over effect for the state, with job creation at various levels, as the solar park will be the region’s largest solar energy storage system when fully operational.