Jurong Island, heart of Singapore's energy and chemical hub. (Photo credit: EDB)
Despite having no significant energy resources of its own, Singapore has done well to establish itself as one of Asia's major energy hubs. The country is one of the top three oil refining centres in the world, accounting for 68 million tonnes of oil exports in 2007. This is a remarkable feat considering that Singapore does not produce any oil itself.
Leveraging on its position at the centre of Asia's trading routes, the city-state has established itself as the world's busiest marine bunkering centre, accounting for around 32 million tonnes of bunkers in 2007.
Singapore is also the largest oil trading hub in Asia, and the third-largest in the world. It is home to more than 800 professional oil traders with a trading volume of US$375 billion in oil contracts annually.
Building a robust infrastructure for the future
To drive sustained economic growth and enhance energy security, Singapore has been actively investing in smart energy infrastructures and systems.
At SIEW 2009, Singapore's Energy Market Authority (EMA) announced a pilot project for an Intelligent Energy System aimed at the development and testing of comprehensive smart grid solutions. The pilot works towards realising an intelligent energy infrastructure that integrates advanced metering with various communications, IT and data management systems.
EMA has also embarked on the Pulau Ubin pilot project to transform an offshore island into a "green" island powered by clean and renewable energy. Once developed, a micro-grid infrastructure on the island will distribute electricity generated by solar, wind, tidal and biomass resources.
Singapore recently also launched an electric vehicle (EV) testbed for industry players to review different EV prototypes and vehicle charging technologies and infrastructures.
Artist rendition of Singapore's LNG Terminal. (Photo credit: EMA)
The island-state is on track as well to develop an LNG terminal that will begin operations in 2013, allowing Singapore to tap on global gas markets. This potentially provides an opportunity for Singapore to develop into an LNG trading hub.
Artist rendition of JTC's CleanTech Park. (Photo credit: JTC)
Besides laboratory R&D, Singapore is well-placed to be a living laboratory for companies to roll out their technologies as they can start with pilots and demonstration projects, before developing and delivering the technologies on a full-scale and commercial basis.
The Singapore government has been creating new platforms for this very purpose. It has the CleanTech Park, which is the first eco-business park in Singapore or indeed in the region. It will be the focal point for large-scale test-bedding demonstrations of system-level solutions.
The city-state has also attracted major players from the industry to set up their operations here. For example, REC (Renewable Energy Corp) has made Singapore home to one of the world's largest integrated solar manufacturing complexes. Wind power company Vestas has also established its global wind R&D centre in Singapore.
Investing in energy R&D
The Singapore government has already invested considerable sums in energy R&D and will continue to do more in this area. Recently, the government allocated S$1 billion to the National Innovation Challenge. The first challenge has been identified as energy resilience for sustainable growth. This will develop cost-competitive energy solutions that help Singapore to improve its energy efficiency; to reduce its carbon emissions; and to increase its energy options.
Some S$350 million (US$234 million) have also been pledged over five years for clean energy research, development and technology, co-ordinated by the Clean Energy Programme Office (CEPO). This was set up to plan and execute strategies to develop the island-state into an innovation hub for clean technologies.
Singapore is committed to growing its clean energy industry and looking at the energy sector to add S$3.4 billion in value to the economy and creating 18,000 jobs by 2015.
Attractive business location
Singapore's stable business environment and strategic location at the heart of Asia have established it as one of the world's leading trading centres. Excellent infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce and extensive trade networks attract a steady stream of business and development opportunities.
The country is already home to a number of multinational energy companies due to its efficient financial, legal and physical infrastructure, as well as proximity to major commodity-producing and consuming countries on the continent. We encourage more companies to plug into this vibrant ecosystem and research network to develop energy solutions not just for deployment in Singapore, but also to be exported to the region and to the world.