Singapore’s strategies to meet its energy challenge amid an uncertain global energy future

Singapore is taking steps to address its energy challenge by diversifying energy mix, managing energy demand, and encouraging innovative technologies, amid an uncertain global energy future.

During his Opening Address at the Singapore Energy Lecture, which kicks off the annual Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2011, Mr S Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, shares Singapore’s three strategies in addressing its energy challenge, given its over dependence on energy imports and the need to secure reliable and affordable energy supplies.

Diversify Energy Supply

Mr Iswaran shared that the key thrust of Singapore’s energy strategy is the diversification of its energy supplies through Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and electricity imports. Singapore will also continue to explore other options like solar energy.

Singapore’s new LNG terminal would start operations by the second quarter of 2013, adding LNG to its energy mix. Singapore is also seriously considering electricity imports as a medium term option. Electricity imports allow countries like Singapore to access new energy options that may be unavailable or not economically feasible.

He announced that the Energy Market Authority (EMA) will commence a public consultation exercise by the end of the year, on the regulatory framework to govern electricity imports to Singapore. The consultation aims to gather the views from industry players and other stakeholders on issues such as how to import electricity and how to integrate imports into our market so as to benefit consumers.

Manage Energy Demand

The second thrust of Singapore’s energy strategy is to manage energy demand. Mr Iswaran shared that Singapore does this primarily by pricing energy right, as energy prices that reflect the true cost of electricity without subsidies, encourages the efficient use of energy.

In addition, Singapore promotes energy efficiency among its industries and encourages the use of energy efficient design and technology, and provides training for energy managers.

Support Innovative Energy Solutions

The third thrust is to support innovative energy solutions and be a “living lab” to test new energy solutions in Singapore. One example is the electric vehicle (EV) test-bedding launched in June this year by EMA and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to assess the costs, feasibility and infrastructure requirements of EVs in Singapore. Since the launch of the test-bed, 14 EVs have been deployed and 10 normal charging stations have been installed.

Mr Iswaran announced that two more EV models, the Renault Fluence and Nissan Leaf, will be joining the test-bed, adding to the two current EV models of Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Daimler smart electic drive. The wider variety of EVs provides more choice to the test-bedding participants, and adds to the breadth and findings of the test-bed.

Another example of testing innovative energy solutions is the setting up of the micro-grid test-bed at the jetty area on Pulau Ubin to test the use of clean energy, including biodiesel and solar energy, to generate baseload electricity supply, and to study the impact of intermittent renewable energy on the power system. EMA has appointed a Singapore-based consortium comprising two companies, Daily Life Renewable Energy and OKH Holdings, to design, build, own and operate the micro-grid.

Energy Security in the Uncertain Energy World

Singapore’s strategies in addressing its energy challenge is especially important, given the uncertain global economic outlook and heightened energy price volatility. This topic on the future of energy security in the uncertain energy world was highlighted during the Keynote Address by Mr Nobuo Tanaka, Former Executive Director, International Energy Agency.

He shared that all the uncertainties are creating huge challenges for policymakers, and calls for a more comprehensive energy security framework. Countries have to adopt green growth through a mix of strategies such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear energy, electric vehicles, and smart grid.

In addition, a lower use of nuclear scenario post-Fukushima would push up demand for coal, gas and renewables. There is a need to develop unconventional gas resources and infrastructure, and if coal is to remain the backbone of power supply, there is a need for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and higher efficiency coal plants.

Mr Tanaka also shared that there is a need for collective energy policy making in growing Asia. By 2035, the primary energy demand of Asia will double from current levels, reflecting its high economic growth. He would like to see Asian countries working together to create a framework that will achieve an interconnected grid in the region. He concluded that one cannot enhance energy security by risking someone else’s.

About Singapore International Energy Week

The Singapore Energy Lecture kicks off the 4th Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2011, from 31 October to 4 November. SIEW is the leading platform for senior policymakers, industry leaders and academics to deliberate and exchange perspectives, strategies and solutions to major issues impacting the global energy agenda. Visit the SIEW website for more information.

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