SEDA: Solar power deals ‘fair and transparent’
KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 ― The country’s renewable energy authority has denied accusations of bias in its award of lucrative solar power contracts to the daughter of Petronas’s new chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, pointing out today that other firms had been equally successful in their bids.
DAP’s Tony Pua and his PKR ally, Nurul Izzah Anwar, last week highlighted that Suzi Suliana Mohd Sidek ― together with her husband, Todd Morath, and two business partners ― controlled 12 out of 32 companies that had won the “lion’s share” of the nation’s solar energy quota.
Suzi’s father, Mohd Sidek, had retired as the Chief Secretary to the Government last month before being appointed to chair the state oil firm.
But the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) insisted that the deals were made in a “fair and transparent” manner as the company owned by Suzi and her husband was not the only one that had won more than one of the feed-in tariff (FiT) solar-power contracts.
“The ability of an applicant to secure multiple quotas is not peculiar to Sun Energy Ventures Sdn Bhd only, there are other companies which have also been equally successful,” SEDA said in a statement today.
To encourage the local industry’s growth, SEDA said that it only imposed restrictions on foreign ownership for the applications.
Companies had to submit their applications to the e-FiT online system, which SEDA said was “designed to process the application in a transparent and fair manner with no human intervention on first-come first served basis.”
The “fully automated” online system only allows a “single application per applicant at one time”, said SEDA.
Applicants in the online queue with “complete information and supporting documents will get a pre-allocated quota.”
Pua had previously slammed SEDA for awarding 32.4 per cent of the quota to companies related to Suzi, saying that they had “no capital” and “no track record”.
SEDA defended the approvals, saying that it wanted to avoid “market domination by foreign companies” if applicants were required to have “extensive experience in solar power”.
It said it had wanted to give local players a chance as the renewable energy industry is still new in Malaysia, with no installation of solar power plants in the past 10 years.
It also confirmed that most of the applicants had “formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) and some with RM2 paid up capital because there is no guarantee they will get the quota.”
The authority added that it would be “unreasonable” to “require a high paid-up capital” at the time of application when the companies are unsure if they will be successful.
SEDA said it is “continuously improving” the system and “steps are also being taken to minimise the possibility of monopolisation” of the renewable energy quota.
It said approved projects will be revoked if applicants fail to meet scheduled milestones, which includes the increase of paid up capital
An applicant with insufficient funds will be removed and the quota will be “released and made available to others”, SEDA said.