An Interview with Dr. Jay Mariyappan, Head of Renewable Energy Petronas
1. Congratulations on your recent appointment as the Head of New Energy for PETRONAS. With more than 20 years working experience in the power industry, could you share a little bit with us regarding your professional background before venturing in PETRONAS?
Back in the late 1990s, I started my career in utility planning and worked on more conventional sources of power. The type of work I was involved in included evaluating options for rural electrification such as grid extension as well as distributed and off-grid renewable energy solutions.
This was where I was exposed to what was then seen as “alternative energy sources”, which back then, were only economically viable in certain high-cost applications. I wanted to explore these concepts further and acquired a doctorate at Imperial College in London. Following which, I joined a London-based renewable energy engineering company where I gained financial and technical experience on commercializing renewable energy projects covering wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro with renewable engineering company.
I then moved to a London-based brokerage firm and subsequently moved to a Hong Kong-based renewable energy developer. Particularly, I was looking at China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippine, and Malaysia for investing and developing renewable energy project.
2. With previous experience as an energy specialist, what are your plans to contribute to the renewable energy solutions?
I joined PETRONAS to take forward the aspiration to “step out” into the renewable energy business by building an effective organization that can execute renewable energy projects and partnerships that will provide long-lasting and value-added solutions to their customers
3. What are the aims and strategies of PETRONAS New Energy Division? What are PETRONAS’ 5 years plans on the renewable energy industry?
· Our long term plan is to establish New Energy as a core business for PETRONAS which contributes a sizeable EBITDA to the Groups’ revenue. Whereas shortly, and ideally, within 5 years, we aim to be a leading Asian Clean Energy player and enable the Malaysian Government to achieve its renewable energy targets. Additionally, we also look to strengthen our position within the Indian renewable energy industry and establish a strong, long-lasting presence within the region.
4. Established in 1974 and ranked among Fortune Global 500’s largest corporations in the world, PETRONAS is the sole manager of oil and gas to the country. What drives PETRONAS to join and explore the renewable energy industry?
There are 3 main objectives that drive PETRONAS to venture into the renewable energy industry;
Firstly, it forms part of PETRONAS’ stepping out strategy which is to create a new core business and become a major player in providing clean energy;
Secondly, to future-proof and position PETRONAS’ portfolio to meet future energy demand and provide alternative energy choices; and
Thirdly, to provide synergies to our business through cost savings, integrated renewable energy, and oil & gas solutions, as well as capabilities and reputation.
5. Could you elaborate more on PETRONAS collaboration with UiTM Energy & Facilities Sdn Bhd (UEFSB) on large scale solar photovoltaic power plants and on-campus energy optimization and solar rooftop projects?
We are collaborating with UEFSB to develop large scale solar in Malaysia as well as rooftop solar and energy efficiency solutions for deployment at UiTM campuses nationwide. The objective of this project is to enable UiTM to reduce energy costs at their campuses and also to advocate clean energy awareness specifically in the student community as well as develop large scale solar. To date, they have developed two large scale solar projects under the Large-Scale Solar (LSS) program.
6. How does PETRONAS New Energy Division plan to expand their global influences and market level?
There are various expansion plans in place covering both organic and inorganic routes. These include partnerships or joint ventures with key business partners. For example, our recent acquisition of Amplus Energy Solutions, a Singapore based distributed energy solutions provider with a large rooftop and ground-mounted solar portfolio in India and more recently expanding to UAE and other parts of southeast Asia.
7. What are the other clean energy initiatives that PETRONAS is working on with and with who? What are the things that can be expected on the collaboration?
PETRONAS is currently in discussions with potential commercial and industrial customers for solar and distributed energy solutions, particularly in Malaysia. In parallel, we are developing opportunities for us to enter into other renewables markets and other technologies, such as wind. We will be sharing more details once these collaborations are finalized.
8. There are a lot of companies on renewable energy nowadays. What are PETRONAS’ uniqueness and specialty on energy solutions compared to the other market players?
While there are various companies in the renewable energy space, we view that the market is very fragmented one and we see opportunities to compete in this space. We are confident that through collaboration with us and our ability to provide end to end solutions, we can grow this business and provide better ways of meeting our customers’ energy requirements and choices.
9. With previous experience as an energy specialist, what are your plans to contribute to the renewable energy solutions?
It’s about helping Petronas as a stepping stone to build the organization in the business that can execute these clean energy projects and develop and apply the technology to provide solutions to the customer.