BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The demand for electricity during peak hours is projected to grow 1.5 percent each year, said the minister at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

Peak demand — the times of the day when electricity consumption is at its highest — stood at 687 megawatts in 2021, Pehin Dato Hj Halbi Hj Mohd Yussof said during the opening of Energy Week at the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition.

To meet future demand, the minister said the current installed capacity at 893 megawatts will need to be increased to 1,200 megawatts by 2027.

He said the Energy Department aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the total power generation mix, beginning with at least 200 megawatts of renewable energy by 2025 and at least 30 percent of the power generation mix by 2035.

The start of a 30-megawatt solar power plant will be the first major step towards achieving that target. 

“With limited land availability, an innovative way to grow the renewable energy capacity is through floating solar farms, which are currently being pursued as the most pragmatic way forward,” Pehin Dato Hj Halbi added.

The vast majority of Brunei’s electricity is generated by gas-powered plants.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Pehin Dato Hj Halbi delivers his keynote address during the opening ceremony of Energy Week at Brunei MYCE 2022. Photo: Courtesy of MPRT

Transitioning to a low-carbon future

Speaking on energy transition, Pehin Dato Hj Halbi said Brunei’s future growth in the energy sector must take into account decarbonisation and climate change.

“Brunei is pacing its energy sector growth with the energy transition agenda in mind towards a low-carbon future,” he said.

The minister added that the sultanate has committed to a net-zero target by 2050 during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) last November.

“In this context, natural gas, the cleanest form of fossil fuel, stands out as the most important transition fuel to support energy transition.

“As a major LNG exporter, Brunei will continue to develop its gas resources and promote natural gas in the global energy transition,” Pehin Dato Hj Halbi said.

Visitors at the Brunei Shell Joint Venture Companies booth during the MYCE 2022 Energy Week Career Fair on June 15, 2022. Photo: The Scoop

Brunei economy still heavily reliant on energy sector

The minister went on to say that the energy sector is undoubtedly a key engine in the growth of Brunei’s socio-economic development.

Citing data from the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics, he said the energy sector accounted for 58.8 percent or $11 billion of the country’s total GDP in 2021.

“Of that number, the upstream oil and gas sector contributed to 49.6 percent, whereas the downstream sector for petroleum refining, chemical products and power sector contributed another 8.4 percent,” Pehin Dato Hj Halbi said.

Brunei also recorded a total output of $14.35 million tonnes of products from its downstream sector with an export value estimated at $10.7 billion. 

In February, Brunei Fertilizer Industries (BFI) began exporting urea to Thailand, followed by South Korea. The fertiliser plant will be able to export up to 1.2 million tonnes of urea annually

This year’s Energy Week is themed ‘Energy Security and Energy Transition: Today and Tomorrow’, focusing on Brunei’s efforts to address challenges in balancing its development priorities — particularly growing energy demand — and the need for climate change mitigation.