Cenergi aspires to lead the region in carbon reduction and sustainability
Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Executive Director of Cenergi SEA Sdn Bhd, is a determined man of quiet perseverance. He has grit and a reputation that precedes him in his composed handling of both good and challenging times.
His career thus has been eventful, with tenures that include Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB), MMC Corp, and Sapura Resources Bhd. Most notably, he grew and nurtured Malakoff Corporation Bhd from what was then a small power company of a dozen employees to become Malaysia’s leading Independent Power Producer (IPP) generating over 5000MW, gaining assets in Malaysia and the Middle East.
The Executive Director is also known for staying grounded in the face of adversity, shown in his management of the Malaysia Airlines crisis of 2014. In overcoming such challenges, Ahmad Jauhari believes that persistence, talent, and an enthusiasm for your work are keys to running a successful business.
Ahmad Jauhari’s passion and cause is sustainability, to improve the impact businesses have on both the ecological and social environments they are embedded within. He is currently spearheading this business philosophy with Cenergi, a regional renewable energy and energy efficiency group which he joined in 2015. Cenergi holds sustainability as one of its key pillars of operation.
With over 23 years of relevant multinational experience in Energy and Power, Ahmad Jauhari emphasised: “Renewable energy is the future of power generation. Carbon mitigation is necessary, and renewable energy is a sustainable business programme in terms of its profits, the effort, and the environment it takes to achieve carbon mitigation.”
These might seem like statements that contradict his career, but Ahmad Jauhari has actively practice and pursued Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in his leadership in Malaysian Oil and Gas. During his time with Malakoff, the company prioritised the improvement of the often desolate environments surrounding their power plants. They held rehabilitation programmes for the mangrove forests around the plants, to rebuild and nurture these essential ecosystems.
These programmes were best exhibited through Tanjung Bin project, a previously disused fish farm. Tanjung Bin is the first private coal plant in Malaysia and Ahmad Jauhari was conscious of its greater impact on the environment. To mitigate this, the company boosted its natural ecosystem by adding small fish back into the river to help it flourish again, working in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries.
Sustainability to Ahmad Jauhari is not limited to environmental practices. Community engagement, particularly that of Education, is a foundational value. Coming from a frugal upbringing, Ahmad Jauhari was a Royal Military College (RMC) scholar who then gained a MARA scholarship to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom where he received a Bachelor’s Degree.
He attributes much of his success to his educational opportunities.
“Education is essential to society and its development. Knowledge is power – it allows us to achieve greater things, because of a greater understanding,” he said.
This value was reflected in the community outreach programmes he developed with Malakoff, where he worked with isolated local schools to fund extra tuition lessons and organises class trips to Kuala Lumpur to inspire students to achieve and seize greater opportunities.
To Ahmad Jauhari, good people make good business. With regard to his landslide business wins – such as the construction of a 500kV supergrid with 700km of transmission lines and seven substations that connects and powers North and South Malaysia in just three years – Ahmad Jauhari credited these successes to having a good team.
“A good team is made up of individuals being their best selves. Everyone brings different skills to the table, all of which are unique but complement each other. Duplication of skills often leads to tension. To witness and realise these individual potentials, leaders should adopt a nurturing, servant leadership rather than a vertical autocratic role. A culture of kindness and compassion will encourage mutual growth,” he explained.
Not one to get caught up in the many successes of his career, Ahmad Jauhari practices a brand of humility that is peppered with honesty; “life will always carry on, we are not as important as we think we are.” This is evident in his laidback mannerisms (he is often seen wearing jeans to meetings) and even his employees casually address him as “AJ.”
For the Executive Director, his focus and drive lie with technological change, innovation, and cultivation. Green energy is at the forefront of this change, and it is fitting that it is also his passion. In his directorship of Cenergi, Ahmad Jauhari aspires to guide the company towards becoming the “forerunner in carbon reduction and sustainability in Southeast Asia.”
Alongside an up-and-coming team of leaders in Cenergi, cherry-picked from his vast network of industry talent, he is enthusiastic about what the future holds for the company and for Malaysia, ready to replicate the great success of the global renewable energy industry.
Since its inception, Cenergi has firmly held on to its principle of sustainability and carbon reduction by investing and developing in clean energy projects. Cenergi deploys a two-fold strategy in its effort to reduce carbon emissions: through renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Its renewable energy arm generates power through sustainable means, such as grid-connected biogas plants and solar energy projects, while its energy efficiency arm focuses on reducing power consumption by installing innovative solutions in commercial and industrial buildings. Having already helmed numerous clean energy projects in Malaysia, Cenergi now stands poised to make its mark across Southeast Asia.
Cenergi is Malaysia’s largest grid-connected palm oil mill effluent (POME) biogas provider. The company currently owns and operates four biogas plants in Pahang with a combined generation capacity of 5.5MW of energy, able to supply power for up to 14,000 houses.
Beginning with the Havys biogas plant, which is celebrating its fifth operational anniversary later this year, Cenergi’s plants have cumulatively generated 64,076,069kWh of energy so far, while reducing 46,134,770kg of CO(2) – the equivalent of almost 10,000 Perodua Myvi cars being taken off the road. And with a fifth biogas plant under construction in the state of Perak, Cenergi has a firm grip on its status as Malaysia’s biogas leader.
As Cenergi’s renewable energy division focuses on producing clean energy, so does its energy efficiency division seek to reduce energy consumption. With one major energy efficiency project under its belt, Cenergi is currently engaged in a multimillion dollar transformation project of an international university.
Energy efficiency, according to Ahmad Jauhari, is “the lowest hanging fruit of carbon reduction.” Simple but productive measures such as installing chiller and voltage optimisers, high efficiency motors, and other energy-efficient equipment help Cenergi save its clients up to 30% off their electricity bill without upfront expenditure through the innovative Energy Performance Contract (EPC).
Under Ahmad Jauhari’s guidance, Cenergi is in a phase of expansion with public-listing aspirations over the next five years. The company is currently expanding its business portfolio and reach by looking to other sources of renewable energy for future endeavours such as biomass, hydro, and wind technologies.
Having already established a strong foothold in Malaysia’s clean energy industry, Cenergi is now seeking further partnerships and opportunities within the Southeast Asian region. Last year, Cenergi signed a partnership with Sunseap, the largest and most established clean energy solutions provider in Singapore, to develop regional solar projects together.
The company also recently set up shop in Kota Kinabalu and plans to establish a branch in Jakarta this year. The Jakarta office will serve as the base of operations for its first Indonesian biogas plant, which will use a form of feedstock alternative to its current POME-biogas plants. Cenergi is also actively pursuing business leads in Vietnam and Thailand.
In its journey to become Southeast Asia’s leading clean energy company, Cenergi is mindful to incorporate sustainable principles in all of its undertakings, both on-and-off-site. Since establishing a Sustainability division in mid-2017, Cenergi has been working to implement organisation-wide Sustainability principles based on International Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria.
Initiatives from these principles include a Green Office policy, in-house waste management, responsible investment practices, and the promotion of a circular economy. To audit the progress of these initiatives and ensure that the company continues to operate according to ESG principles, Cenergi will be releasing its first Sustainability Report this year.
Social consciousness is key to sustainability and Cenergi ensures that it prioritises people alongside projects by supporting local enterprises, contributing to the community, and ensuring the wellbeing of its employees. When contracting plant staff, the company hires from the community surrounding its project sites, believing that local knowledge and experience are invaluable to its successes.
Currently, Cenergi has over 30 employees working across its Malaysian biogas plants. These men and women are at the frontline of Cenergi’s operations and the company considers their safety of the utmost importance; Cenergi has had zero accident hours since its conception.
Improving upon its Safety First policy, Cenergi recently introduced standardised Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) guidelines across its assets. The company provides essential HSE training to all its employees, including an accredited First Aid course and crisis workshops run by the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia.
The welfare of its people and communities is foundational to Cenergi’s culture, and will continue to be prioritised as the company grows beyond Malaysia.
Source: Green plus