By Francis Kan
Singapore is laying the groundwork for a clean and efficient energy future, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said in his Singapore Energy Lecture at SIEW 2017.
Watch the highlights of the Singapore Energy Lecture
Singapore is in the process of developing strategies to achieve its long-term objectives of becoming more energy efficient and increasing its use of clean energy, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the opening of Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) on 23 October.
“These strategies will point the direction for long-term infrastructure planning and guide stakeholders and companies so that they can make informed decisions to maximise deployment of clean energy and energy-efficient solutions,” said DPM Teo, who was delivering the Singapore Energy Lecture at SIEW 2017.
To better co-ordinate its various initiatives across agencies, the Government has set up a National Energy Transformation Office to be housed within the Energy Market Authority.
He cited three key thrusts of this effort: improving energy efficiency, harnessing renewable energy in more innovative and efficient ways, and continuing to invest in energy research and development (R&D).
Powering up energy efficiency
DPM Teo explained that ramping up efforts to improve energy efficiency would reduce operating costs for companies and help manage the country's overall energy demand growth.
In 2015, Singapore companies achieved an industrial energy efficiency improvement of 0.6 percent, a figure that he noted was “not good enough”. The goal is to at least double this to a 1 to 2 percent improvement achieved by countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands.
Singapore will also be introducing a carbon tax in 2019 to send a signal to companies on the value placed on greenhouse gases. Revenue from the tax will be used to fund measures that help companies reduce their emissions.
“This will ensure that those who emit the most greenhouse gases will fairly bear the costs to our environment, and further encourages all sectors to reduce their emissions and improve energy efficiency,” said DPM Teo.
He urged all companies, including SMEs, to tap on Government grants and incentives to invest in energy efficiency and adopt energy efficiency practices so that their business can become more competitive.
Harnessing renewable energy
Singapore is also looking to increase the use of renewable energy, and in particular solar photovoltaic (PV) energy, to replace fossil fuels in the country’s energy mix. Natural gas accounts for about 95 per cent of the nation’s electricity generation today.
Solar energy, without subsidies, could potentially contribute 2 GW of electricity by 2025, or about one quarter of Singapore’s projected peak electricity demand, a study by the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) study showed.
To develop the use of this renewable energy, the Government is test bedding floating solar panels on reservoirs, and also exploring the possibility of deploying solar panels on vertical building surfaces, revealed DPM Teo.
Investing in R&D
He noted that the development of new innovative technologies would be key to promoting energy efficient and clean energy solutions in Singapore. To that end, the Government has set aside some US$660 million (S$900 million) for R&D in the areas of urban and sustainability solutions, of which energy is a key focus.
These funds are being used to support the piloting and test bedding of new technologies in areas such as power systems, smart grids, energy storage, green buildings and green data centres to accelerate the commercialisation and adoption of these technologies, said DPM Teo.
“Our scientific and research community are already partnering companies to undertake cutting-edge research,” he added.
An active global role
Beyond tackling its own energy challenges, DPM Teo said Singapore would continue to play an active role in the global energy architecture. The Republic already participates in international forums such as ASEAN, APEC and the G20. And in October 2016, Singapore joined the International Energy Agency as an associate member to contribute towards the region’s efforts for a more sustainable energy future.
“International co-operation is increasingly important in ensuring effective action on environmental sustainability and energy security,” he said. “The annual SIEW is also part of our efforts to further international energy co-operation.”
Please click here for the full speech by DPM Teo