As a small land constrained nation, Singapore is heavily dependent on imports for meeting its energy requirements. Despite the low potential of renewable energy resources, the country has been making significant efforts to green its power mix through adoption of solar power with a greater focus on floating and rooftop solar, energy storage systems and green hydrogen. Against this backdrop, Singapore’s Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Low Yen Ling gave a speech at the recent Energy Innovation 2022 organised by the Energy Market Authority, in partnership with Singapore Battery Consortium, Infrastructure Asia, Keppel Infrastructure and Envision Digital. The event theme for this year was “Commercialising Clean Energy Technologies”, and thus, Ms Ling highlighted the various initiatives being taken to scale up clean energy technologies in Singapore with a focus on collaboration between government and industry, startups and skill development in this space, smart grids and various upcoming opportunities. These are selected extracts from her speech…
This year’s theme of “Commercialising Clean Energy Technologies” is a timely one. The 2021 COP-26 has provided greater clarity on carbon market rules and increased global investments in decarbonisation technologies. However, attaining a cleaner and more resilient future energy system with net-zero emissions will require a wide range of clean energy technologies. Hence, it is time to translate our R&D efforts into innovative clean energy solutions to be deployed in regional and global markets.
As Singapore forges ahead towards greater sustainability, we can look forward to an exciting time of growth and new possibilities.
Seizing Opportunities in Singapore’s Energy Transition
Today, the power sector contributes about 40 per cent of Singapore’s carbon emissions. To reach our net-zero emission goal by 2050, we need the industry to decarbonise. Last year, the EMA announced the Singapore Energy Transition plan to decarbonise the power sector whilst ensuring that our energy system remains secure and reliable. This is part of our overall vision of achieving a clean and efficient sustainable energy future for our city-state.
Singapore will harness and tap on four switches to transform our energy supply – natural gas, solar, regional power grids and emerging low-carbon alternatives. These will help to transform and diversify our country’s energy supply while promoting energy efficiency to reduce demand.
Singapore will harness and tap on four switches to transform our energy supply – natural gas, solar, regional power grids and emerging low-carbon alternatives.
Fostering Close Collaboration between Government and the Industry and Research Community
Advancing our nation’s energy transition takes a collective effort. While the Government can drive the Singapore Energy Transition plan, we need everyone, from the industry to the research community to play their part. Every company, organisation and individual have an important role in this drive for sustainable energy.
On this note, I am happy to announce that EMA and JTC have jointly awarded R&D funding to three projects under the $6 million Jurong Island Renewable Energy Request for Proposal (RFP) which will testbed and accelerate clean energy innovations on Jurong Island. A lively pipeline of R&D projects in new energy technologies can bring us closer to our net-zero goals. The three projects were selected from over 30 proposals received from the industry and research community after the RFP closed in February this year. The projects range from using innovative floating solar deployment to harnessing existing infrastructure for energy storage and developing a virtual ledger to support green hydrogen production. The three projects are led respectively by Keppel Energy Nexus, VFlowTech, as well as Tuas Power and EDF HQ Singapore. They demonstrate the close collaboration enjoyed between the power industry and research community as they work together to advance the deployment of clean energy technologies on Jurong Island. This is part of our vision of developing Jurong Island into a sustainable energy and chemicals park.
A Vibrant Energy Startup Ecosystem
Besides cultivating such collaborations, Singapore also fosters a vibrant startup ecosystem to incubate innovative ideas and spin off promising technologies to energise and future-proof our energy sector. This involves promoting partnerships with industry players to provide them with the platform to develop their solutions. One example is the collaboration between EMA and Shell Singapore to nurture local energy startups. Since 2019, 18 start-ups have benefitted from their Shell Startup Engine Singapore Programme. This is a global innovation programme that helps startups deepen their expertise in areas such as renewable energy and low carbon solutions, and also expands their market reach with Shell’s extensive network.
Today, I would like to announce that two startups from the latest cohort of the programme, BeeX and SunGreenH2, have been awarded grants under the $8 million partnership between EMA and Shell, to enhance and test-bed their sustainable solutions. BeeX will be enhancing its autonomous underwater inspection vehicles to improve underwater inspection capabilities. Its technology can be used to monitor subsea transmission cables, floating solar panels, and underwater oil and gas infrastructure. SunGreenH2 will develop a cost-effective and efficient electrolyser with proprietary nanotechnology to improve green hydrogen production in Singapore.
In our journey of sustainability, we will continue to actively test-bed and deploy innovative clean energy technologies in joint partnership with the private sector.
A Smart Grid for the Future
In our journey of sustainability, we will continue to actively test-bed and deploy innovative clean energy technologies in joint partnership with the private sector. EMA has partnered with PSA Corporation (PSA) in a solution to optimise energy usage in port operations with the use of a smart energy management system at PSA’s Pasir Panjang Terminal. A smart grid can optimise grid asset investments and better manage supply and demand in real-time, as well as cope with the proliferation of distributed energy resources and increasing grid costs.
This is the first energy storage system to be deployed at a Singapore port. It will enable PSA to improve the terminal’s energy efficiency by 2.5 per cent and reduce its carbon footprint by 1,000 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) per annum, or the equivalent of taking 300 cars off the road annually. We hope that this system can be adapted subsequently by Tuas Mega Port to better optimise Singapore’s port operations and energy efficiency.
In another joint effort, EMA has partnered with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to launch the 2nd EMA-SIT Exploited Distributed Generation (EDGE) Grant Call today. Like the first EDGE programme started in 2018, this 2nd grant call will fund projects that develop innovative technologies and capabilities in the areas of distributed energy optimisation and management, and differentiated power-quality systems. We hope this will boost the co-creation of solutions for better energy sustainability and the emergence of next-generation energy technologies. All the awarded projects will be test-bedded at SIT’s future campus in the Punggol Digital District in 2024.
Growing the Energy Sector Workforce to Support the Green Economy
As we build our sustainable future, our energy sector workforce must have the skills and talents to support the green economy. They are the power cells that charge up our transformation process.
Re-skilling the energy sector workforce is critical for a smooth transition in the industry and all stakeholders. We are already seeing new and expanded job roles in areas such as solar, energy storage systems, smart grids and hydrogen. To build up a competent workforce, EMA is working closely with the industry to nurture talent. For instance, the Energy-Industry Scholarships (EIS) offered by EMA and its industry partners provide engineering students with a head start in their careers in the energy sector. Three outstanding engineering students from Singapore Polytechnic were awarded the EIS last year.
We are already seeing new and expanded job roles in areas such as solar, energy storage systems, smart grids and hydrogen.
I am glad that we are doing more in the area of workforce transformation. We have witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the SP Group and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to build and strengthen capabilities in the energy sector.
As part of this collaboration, five officers from SP Group will be embarking on a full-time undergraduate degree in Electrical Power Engineering at SIT. The course is fully sponsored by their employer and the officers can look forward to upgrading and refreshing their skills after spending a decade in the industry.
There is a saying in Chinese – 活到老，学到老， which means, we keep on learning throughout our lifetime.
The MOU will also focus on applied research and student placement. EMA, SIT and SP Group will provide the students with workplace learning opportunities and innovation projects that address emerging needs of the energy industry.
As one of the largest employers in the energy sector, SP Group’s upskilling efforts position the forward-looking organisation well for the energy transition. I urge companies to seize every opportunity to build a future-ready workforce that will charge up the growth of our green economy.
The transformation to a low-carbon green economy will be an exciting chapter in our Singapore story. This is a journey where everyone plays a part.
Together, we can forge new frontiers and create a greener future for Singapore.