Committee of Supply Debate 2010: Ministry of Trade and Industry

March 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Insights

Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, gave his speech during the Committee of Supply Debate under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). The speech addresses questions related to Singapore’s energy policy, and can be downloaded from the MTI website.

Here are some key points that he raised:

Our goal is to make Singapore a Smart Energy Economy with an energy ecosystem that is secure, sustainable and competitive. Our strategy to meet the global energy challenges rests on two key thrusts: diversification and competitive energy markets.

The Government agrees with the Economic Strategies Committee’s (ESC) recommendation to adopt a portfolio approach towards energy – in other words, no one energy option will be adequate to meet our varied energy objectives.

We will adopt a pragmatic approach by evaluating the alternatives on the basis of energy security, economic viability and environmental sustainability.

Among the renewable energy sources currently available, solar is one of the most promising in our context for electricity generation. While still relatively expensive today, solar energy prices could achieve grid parity in the medium term.

… why are we prepared to study nuclear energy as an option now. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, it can potentially enhance energy security, reduce carbon emissions, and mitigate the impact of volatile oil and gas prices – thus it could meet, potentially all our objectives embedded in the national energy policy.

The aim is to ensure that we fully understand, and objectively evaluate from all perspectives, the opportunities, challenges and risks involved with nuclear energy. The study will commence later this year. It will entail a careful, deliberate and rigorous examination of the technical, economic and safety aspects of nuclear energy.

Clean coal could be a component of our energy diversification strategy. Currently, coal makes up more than 40 per cent of global power generation. And, it is expected to remain at this level until at least 2030 given the relative abundance of coal sources in the world. Coal also has a cost advantage though this may be eroded by any future global carbon pricing regime. However, combustion technology is evolving, making coal cleaner than before and we must, therefore, keep this option open.

We are price-takers in the global energy market because we are small and import almost all our energy requirements. We therefore must allow the full cost of energy to be reflected in prices. Subsidising energy would be encouraging wasteful consumption and it will also be a drain on public finances.

Source: MTI

Committee of Supply Debate 2010: Ministry of National Development

March 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Insights

Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for National Development gave her speech during the Committee of Supply Debate under the Ministry of National Development (MND). The speech addresses policies related to green buildings in Singapore:

Greening Our Buildings

19 Mr Cedric Foo has asked how HDB estates can be more sustainable. Our existing HDB estates have designs which facilitate cross-ventilation and natural lighting. For new estates, we will continue to incorporate environmentally friendly features and green technologies. For example, HDB is pushing forward the installation of solar photovoltaic panels (PV) at four precincts at Tampines, Bukit Panjang, Tanjong Pagar and Marine Parade.

20 HDB, together with Town Councils, also aims to reduce the energy consumption of common areas in new and existing HDB estates by 20% and 30% respectively. This is done by introducing features such as energy efficient light fittings and lift systems.

22 Our sustainable development efforts must extend beyond our public housing estates. In April 2009, the Government released Sustainable Singapore Blueprint which outlined our efforts to improve our overall energy efficiency by 35% from 2005 levels by 2030. All sectors, including the building sector will need to play their part towards meeting this target.

Raising Minimum Standards for New Buildings

23 By the end of this year, we will raise the mandatory minimum energy efficiency standard for Green Mark certified level for new buildings by 10% from today’s standard. Correspondingly, the energy efficiency standards for other Green Mark levels, i.e. Gold, GoldPlus, and Platinum will be raised. Building owners can enjoy cost savings in the long run by being more energy efficient.

Mandatory Submission of Energy Data

24 To better understand energy consumption patterns, and to monitor the effectiveness of our energy efficiency measures, BCA will require building owners and utilities companies to submit energy and other building related data such as Gross Floor Area (GFA) and specifications of building systems on an annual basis starting from 2011. Building owners can also use the information to pro-actively improve their buildings’ energy efficiency.

25 Going forward, BCA will consult the industry on the possibility of mandating a minimum energy efficiency standard for existing buildings.

Source: MND

Committee of Supply Debate 2010: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

March 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Insights

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, and Dr Amy Khor, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, gave their speeches during the Committee of Supply Debate under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR).

Here are some key points that they raised:

At Copenhagen, Singapore supported the Accord, and has since written to the UNFCCC Secretariat to associate ourselves formally with the Accord as a good basis for advancing negotiations towards reaching a legally binding global agreement on climate change. Though the Accord as it stands does not create legal obligations, it contains important elements that can facilitate the on-going negotiations. To date, about 100 out of the 194 Parties to the UNFCCC have associated themselves with the Accord. About 30 non-Annex I countries, including Singapore, have also tabled their emission reduction targets.

To play our part in international efforts to mitigate climate change, Singapore has pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 16% from the 2020 business-as-usual scenario. This target is contingent on a legally binding global agreement in which all countries implement their commitments in good faith. Our target is credible and rigorous given our past efforts to reduce emissions and the constraints we face as a city-state, including our limited potential to adopt renewable energy.It is a substantial commitment by Singapore. Achieving it will involve considerable costs, and changes in lifestyle and business practices.

BCA will increase the mandatory minimum energy efficiency standards for Green Mark certified new buildings by 10% from today’s standards by the end of this year, and will also mandate the submission of building energy usage data from 2011.

Our consultations with large energy users indicate that a wide range of energy management practices exists today. We therefore see the need for minimum standards to ensure greater management attention is paid to energy. While this will ultimately benefit companies in terms of cost-savings, we also recognise the need to give companies sufficient lead-time to prepare.

By 2013, we will require companies in the industry sector consuming more than the equivalent of 15 GWh of energy each year to appoint an energy manager, monitor and report energy use to NEA, and develop and submit energy efficiency improvement plans. NEA will be consulting the companies involved on the detailed requirements.

To ensure a smooth transition, NEA will introduce the Energy Efficiency National Partnership, or EENP, in April to help companies build up the necessary capabilities before the mandatory energy management practices come into effect. We will also be reviewing our incentive schemes and exploring long-term energy efficiency financing options to cater to the needs of companies.

These energy management requirements for industry and energy efficiency-related legislation in other sectors will be consolidated in an Energy Conservation Act that will come into force in 2013. The Act allows for a co-ordinated approach to standards-setting for energy efficiency across all sectors, and will represent a major milestone in the government’s efforts to develop energy efficiency as a competitive advantage for Singapore.

As I announced last year, minimum energy performance standards or MEPS will be implemented for household air-conditioners and refrigerators in 2011.MEPS will remove the most energy inefficient air-conditioners and refrigerators from the market. Depending on the appliance category, all 0-tick models and some 1- and 2-tick models will be removed, representing about 20% of current sales volumes. A sufficient range of brands and models will remain available for consumer choice.

MEPS will help consumers save on electricity bills and is not expected to significantly increase the upfront cost of air-conditioners and refrigerators. A more efficient fridge that costs the same as one phased out by MEPS can save a household about $130 a year. When all the existing air-conditioners and refrigerators in Singapore comply with the MEPS standards, consumers will enjoy a total energy savings of about $20milannually.

We will tighten the MEPS standards over time. We will also consider extending MEPS to more appliances, such as lighting and televisions.

The public sector will continue to take the lead on environmental sustainability measures. From FY11, all Ministries will set energy savings targets. We will continue to study new measures that can be implemented.

In 2007, NEA commissioned a study involving local and foreign experts to understand our vulnerabilities to climate change.

The first phase of the study covering the physical impacts of climate change has concluded. The results have been peer reviewed by international experts who noted that the study adopted well-established methodologies and that the findings are plausible.

The study projects that the average daily temperature in Singapore could increase by between 2.7 to 4.2°C from the current average of 26.8°C by 2100 and the mean sea level around Singapore could rise by 24 to 65 cm by 2100. These findings are within the range of our expectations and consistent with global projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Source: MEWR