Economic Transformation in Singapore Demanding Strong Renewable Energy

Singapore Renewable Energy

Singapore is enjoying high per capita gross national incomes (GNIs) due to an advanced service economy and oil and gas resources. It is a small island with the total population of 5.7 million has almost eight times higher per capita GNI than Indonesia and twenty-four time higher than Cambodia’s per capita incomes. The share of the urban population of Singapore ranges from 100% in the city-state. Domestic material consumption of Singapore is 39 tonnes, which is three-four times higher than most of the countries. The role of energy is widely noticed in underpinning economic growth and socio-economic development. Renewable Energy use is growing with the increase in population and expanding economy.

The future energy demand in this region is expected to influence strongly with the economic transformation and rising incomes, which is coupled with urbanisation, poverty reduction and improvements in access to modern energy. The total renewable power generation capacity in Singapore has increased to 273 megawatts in 2017 from 118 megawatts in 2008. Worldwide, the use of renewable resources of energy is rapidly increasing and solar power is one of the fast developing potential energy sources.

Expansion of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Energy in Singapore:

Solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment in Singapore has seen a rapid growth with total installation capacity increased to 143-megawatt peak (MWp) in 2017 from 0.4 MWp in 2008. Despite having various challenges, such as intermittency in generation due to high cloud cover and limited land the growth of PV Solar is remarkably high. Further, by 2020 the country has planned to raise its solar adoption to 350 MWp and further to one-gigawatt peak (GWp) beyond 2020. Also, the country is investing in solar PV and related energy technologies’ research, development and demonstration (RD&D) to address the market barriers in expansions. In fact, the competition between the power generation sector has spurred that these have been switched to more efficient Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGTs) fuelled by natural gas from steam plants powered with fuel oil, the cleanest fossil fuel.

For encouraging the growth of the solar and wind to the region, still lagging in terms of accessibility of electricity and also encouraging the public sector to adopt the solar energy and for this, the country is enhancing their regulatory framework for intermittent generation sources. By 2030, UN initiative of sustainable energy has set a global target of exceeding the generation 30% share of renewable energy within the electric mix. The rapid increase in renewable energy will be going to provide vast opportunities in order to facilitate changing energy landscape globally for the supplying industry. Solar has been identified as the most viable clean energy source in terms of technical feasibility and cost for local deployment.

Renewable Growth Driving the Demand for Energy Storage Solutions:

Demand for renewable energy is increasing in the cities, communities, emerging markets, and corporations as they are seeking reliability, affordability and most of all increasingly clean energy sources. The enabling trends of solar and wind power are now best positioned to deliver the goals. Renewable is now an integral part of the Smart renewable cities (SRCs) in developing smart city strategies. Emerging markets comprising the best means to power is solar and wind in their development strategies, community renewable energy is providing choice to consumers to access electrification or exercise electricity and corporations obtaining renewable to improve their bottom line while greening their operations.

According to the ebb and flow of consumer electricity demand, storage acts like a reserve that can pump electricity into the grid when renewable energy generation is low. In Singapore, clean energy’s large-scale adoption and deployment are making a steady progress. The country is looking for multiple solutions including energy storage to ensure the safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity to manage its intermittency. This is the reason why Singapore is building a niche in energy storage, such as battery testbeds and also developing new research facilities for the multi-faceted and growing ecosystem around energy storage.

Startups in the Renewable Energy in Singapore:

  • Sembcorp:

Sembcorp Industries Ltd formerly known as Minaret Limited incorporated in 1998 engages in the utilities, marine, and urban development businesses. The company is running its operation internationally, such as in Singapore, China, India, rest of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Brazil, the United States, etc. The portfolio of the company has a balanced energy of over 12,000 megawatts, including thermal power plants, renewable wind and solar power assets, as well as biomass and energy-from-waste facilities. Recently, a deal has been signed between Sembcorp and Facebook to support the Singapore operations and to supply it to 20-year, including a new data centre, of tech giant Facebook with renewable power via offsite solar panels installed on almost 900 rooftops in Singapore.

  • SolarHome:

SolarHome is a Singapore-based pioneer startup in Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYG”) Solar for off-grid households in Southeast Asia. It is a “rent-to-own” affordable plan of energy service subscription integrated to the customers’ homes, where integrated solar energy and appliance units installed at home. Over 4,000 households are socially impacting and the company is providing 27 million households across Southeast Asia who is living outside of the electric grid.

  • Sunseap:

Sunseap, incorporated in 2011 in Singapore deliver bankable clean energy solutions that allow its esteemed clients to utilise affordable and clean energy by making it economically viable for its customers to enjoy affordable clean energy without any hefty costs. It is Singapore’s largest clean energy provider. The company has its cost-competitive models and strategies portfolio to diversify the solar energy. It is a one-stop service to clean energy solution via funding, development, designing, engineering and construction elements.

Challenges and Opportunities of the Renewable Energy Industry:

Power generation investments are commercially driven by the liberalised market environment in Singapore, so energy security and diversification of energy sources is a major challenge. With the increasing anticipation of renewable, the government has to facilitate power generation investments for the future by ensuring a conducive regulatory environment.  Reducing Singapore’s emission intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030 is also a major challenge in the renewable energy industry.

Leveraging the opportunity to innovate, remain connected, stay relevant and deepen capabilities of the workforce in Singapore. The workforce of the country should have in-depth skills and be motivated toward life-long learning. LNG and Solar could be an opportunity for Singapore in renewable energy. LNG is improving energy security and allowing Singapore to source for natural gas globally and contributing in the spot market to develop a competitive and dynamic gas and electricity markets in Singapore. The country is investing in system-level solutions to ensure their national grid, such as solar forecasting and energy storage technologies to manage intermittency. This aims to evaluate the different ESS technologies performance of Singapore’s hot, humid and highly urbanised operating environment.

Singapore aimed to improve energy efficiency, increasing the deployment of renewable energy, and fostering technology and innovation. To encourage energy efficiency improvements the government has adopted a mix of regulations, incentives, and capacity building measures in the industrial, buildings, transport, and household sectors. Recently, the Energy Conservation Act enhanced to strengthen energy efficiency practices among companies and also planning to implement Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for common industrial equipment. Government is providing grants and supports to companies in performing energy audits, enhancing energy efficiency and in reducing emissions.

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