Adopt Green IT and Green Computing Practices

September 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Insights

Green IT or green computing usually refers to making the data centre and other IT system or equipment more energy efficient, and to reduce the environmental impacts associated with IT, such as recycling of computing equipment.

You can adopt the following Green IT practices on energy efficiency in your organisation’s data centre, energy efficient office equipment, energy saving tips and recycling of used electronic equipment. Read more

Overview of the Energy Situation in Singapore

May 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

This is an overview of the energy situation in Singapore in terms of Electricity Consumption; Energy Consumption; Energy Intensity; Discrepancy Between Energy Statistics; and Energy Efficiency Policies.

1. Electricity Consumption

According to the National Energy Policy Report, the power generation sector accounts for 51% of the fuel consumption in Singapore and the fuel is used to generate electricity for the following sectors (in 2005):

energy-by-sector

There are currently eight electricity generation licensees operating in Singapore, regulated by the Energy Market Authority:

  • Senoko Power Ltd (3300 MW)
  • PowerSeraya Ltd (3100 MW)
  • Tuas Power Ltd (2670 MW)
  • Keppel Merlimau Cogen Pte Ltd (1400 MW)
  • Sembcorp Cogen Pte Ltd (785 MW)
  • National Environment Agency (251 MW; electricity from incineration plants)
  • Island Power Company Pte Ltd (not in operation yet)
  • Keppel Seghers Tuas Waste-to-Energy Plant Pte Ltd (not in operation yet)

Singapore’s total electricity consumption and electricity consumption per capita from 1990 to 2007 is shown in the graph below, based on statistics from the Energy Market Authority and the Singapore Department of Statistics.

singapore-electricity-consumption

Singapore’s electricity consumption is increasing steadily each year, and has increased by 2.6 times over the past 17 years. Electricity consumption per capita increased at a slower rate by 1.8 times over the past 17 years and remained relatively constant from 2005 to 2007, perhaps an indication that the government’s energy conservation efforts are paying off.

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2. Energy Consumption

There is some dispute on whether Singapore is energy intensive and a big consumer of energy per person in the world, which arises due to the different sources of energy statistics used. There are two commonly quoted sources of energy statistics – the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The graph below shows the energy consumption per capita for selected countries in 2006 based on statistics from EIA’s International Energy Statistics and IEA’s Key World Energy Statistics 2008. If the EIA data is used, the energy consumption per capita for Singapore is higher than the US, other developed countries and the world average. If the IEA data is used, the energy consumption per capita for Singapore is lower than other developed countries such as the US and Finland.

energy-consumption-per-capita2

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3. Energy Intensity

Energy intensity is usually used as an indication of the level of energy efficiency in a country and is measured in terms of energy consumption per dollar of gross domestic product (GDP). A low energy intensity means that the country is able to produce each unit of output using less energy.

The graph below shows the energy intensity for selected countries in 2006 based on statistics from EIA’s International Energy Statistics and IEA’s Key World Energy Statistics 2008. If the EIA data is used, the energy intensity for Singapore is higher than the US, other developed countries and the world average. If the IEA data is used, the energy intensity for Singapore is comparable to other developed countries such as Finland and the US.

energy-intensity1

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4. Discrepancy Between Energy Statistics

The discrepancy between EIA and IEA statistics is due to the different calculation of energy consumption. According to EIA’s International Energy Statistics, the energy consumption for Singapore is 53.98 Mtoe. On the other hand, the IEA’s Key World Energy Statistics 2008 shows that the energy consumption for Singapore is lower at 30.67 Mtoe.

The energy consumption based on the EIA is about 43% more than that of the IEA. This is because EIA includes marine bunkers (deliveries of oils to ships for consumption during international voyages) in its calculation of energy consumption and as Singapore is the largest marine bunkering centre in the world, our energy consumption is thus overestimated, which in turn leads to higher energy consumption per capita and energy intensity for Singapore. On the other hand, IEA excludes marine bunkers from its calculation of energy consumption.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the National Environment Agency has cited the IEA’s statistics as it gives a more realistic representation of Singapore’s energy consumption. A paper titled Benchmarking Singapore’s Energy Intensity (published in the Economic Survey of Singapore, Third Quarter 2006) says that:

Among the three sources of data, IEA’s numbers paint a more accurate picture of Singapore’s true energy intensity, as IEA has stripped away marine bunkers from its calculation of energy consumption. Singapore is the largest marine bunkering centre in the world. In 2003, we supplied about 20.8 million tons of bunker oil to ships. EIA’s and BP’s data overestimated Singapore’s energy intensity because they attributed marine bunkers as energy consumed in Singapore.

And concludes that:

After accounting for marine bunkers, Singapore’s energy intensity is roughly on par with countries of the same level of development. Compared to less energy intensive economies, Singapore’s higher energy intensity is due mostly to the use of energy in the manufacturing sector, the consumption of fuels as feedstock in the petrochemicals industry and the sale of jet fuel to the international civil aviation sector.

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5. Energy Efficiency Policies

Regardless of the dispute on Singapore’s energy intensity, the government is committed to taking steps to reduce our energy consumption. According to the Energy Efficient Singapore website, Singapore’s energy intensity dropped by 15% from 1990 to 2005 (see graph below) and has been decreasing steadily since 2002, likely due to the use of better and more efficient technology in the power generation and other sectors.

energy-efficiency-in-singapore

Singapore’s key strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to be more energy efficient. The Sustainable Development Blueprint sets a target to reduce our energy intensity (per dollar GDP) by 20% from 2005 levels by 2020, and by 35% from 2005 levels by 2030.

To help Singapore meet the targets, the Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO) is promoting energy efficiency in the various sectors through the Energy Efficient Singapore (E2 Singapore) policies and measures:

energy-efficiency-measures1

Image credit: Energy Consumption by Sectors in 2005 via National Energy Policy Report; Energy Intensity Indexed to 1990 Level via E2 Singapore; Summary of Policies and Measures in E2 Singapore via National Climate Change Strategy.

Singapore’s National Policies on Energy and Climate Change

May 14, 2009 by  
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This summary aims to provide a brief overview of Singapore’s national policies on energy and climate change, and is divided into the following sections:

  1. National Policy Reports
  2. Energy Policy Group
  3. Singapore’s Economic Focus
  4. Energy Supply
  5. Clean Energy
  6. Carbon Intensity and Energy Efficiency

singapore-nightlight

1. National Policy Reports

The Singapore government’s policies on energy and climate change can be found in three national reports:

These three reports are essential reading for those who wish to have an overall picture of what the government is doing or plan to do on issues related to energy, climate change and the environment. There’s also another previous report worth reading – the Singapore Green Plan 2012 (2006 edition), published in Feb 2006.

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2. Energy Policy Group

Climate change and energy issues are complex and cut across different sectors and industries, and involve policies from different ministries and agencies. The Singapore government recognises the need to have an integrated approach to dealing with energy and climate change, and has adopted a whole-of-government approach led by the Energy Policy Group (EPG) since Mar 2006. The EPG consists of representatives from the:

  • Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI)
  • Ministry of Finance (MOF)
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)
  • Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR)
  • Ministry of Transport (MOT)
  • Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
  • Building and Construction Authority (BCA)
  • Economic Development Board (EDB)
  • Energy Market Authority (EMA)
  • Land Transport Authority (LTA)
  • National Environment Agency (NEA)

The EPG has four working groups on Economic Competitiveness, Energy Security, Climate Change and the Environment, and Energy Industry Development, headed by the different agencies shown below:

epg

3. Singapore’s Economic Focus

Singapore’s energy and climate change policies are influenced mainly by economic considerations. The government will take pragmatic and cost-effective actions to reduce emissions and adopt clean energy, as long as the actions does not affect our economic growth or add to costs greatly.

We can’t volunteer to take drastic measures to reduce emissions on our own, at the cost of our economy and our economic growth because this is not a problem which any country can do by itself. … We contribute less than 0.2% of all the carbon emissions worldwide – 0.2% – so what we do in Singapore is not going to change the world. … but we can’t say, therefore, we ignore it. We will do our fair share as part of a global effort to reduce greenhouse gases. – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Energy plays an indispensable role in our economy, and will remain critical to our continued economic growth and development. The ultimate aim of our energy policy is to support Singapore’s continued economic growth. – National Energy Policy Report

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4. Energy Supply

About 80% of Singapore’s electricity is generated from natural gas piped from Malaysia and Indonesia. The remaining electricity is generated from fuel oil and a small percentage from diesel and refuse. The government understands that we are vulnerable to energy supply and price risks as we import all our oil and gas, and has taken steps to diversify our energy supplies.

To diversify our natural gas supply, the government has decided to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and plan to have the LNG import terminal ready in 2012. This would reduce our reliance on our neighbors and increase our supply of natural gas from countries that are further from Singapore such as Australia, Qatar and Russia.

solarpark1In addition, the government is looking at other energy sources such as solar and biofuels, and is open to other clean energy technologies and will consider these energy technologies as and when it becomes viable for adoption.

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5. Clean Energy

The government has identified the clean energy industry as a key growth area since Mar 2007. The clean energy industry is expected to contribute S$1.7 billion to the GDP and create 7,000 jobs by 2015. The government has put in place several initiatives and funding to attract clean energy companies to set up their operations in Singapore and create jobs, and also to encourage research and development and test-bedding in clean energy technologies.

However, the government has made it clear that it will not subsidise clean energy:

Our basic policy tenet is that energy costs should be borne in full by end users. Individuals and industries should adjust their consumption of energy according to its true cost as reflected in its price. We do not subsidise the cost of energy because it will dampen price signals, and create the incentive to over-consume. … As it stands, renewable energies such as solar are still as some members have noted, much more expensive than traditional fossil fuel-based energy. To be consistent with our basic principles, we should not adopt measures which subsidise specific renewable energy types. – Senior Minister of State S. Iswaran, MTI

In Singapore, solar energy is the most promising clean energy source. However, the cost of solar energy generation is currently about twice that of energy generated by fossil fuel. In the Sustainable Development Blueprint, the government announced its plans:

We will invest early in solar technology test-bedding projects to prepare to use solar technology on a larger scale when the cost of solar energy falls closer to that of conventional energy.

HDB will implement a large-scale solar test-bed for public housing within 30 precincts islandwide, which will cost $31 million and provide 3.1 megawatts peak of solar capacity. This trial will help Singapore to implement solar technology on a larger scale when it becomes cost effective in the future.

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6. Carbon Intensity and Energy Efficiency

Singapore does not have a target to reduce absolute carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, Singapore has a national target to improve our carbon intensity by 25% from 1990 level by 2012 under the Singapore Green Plan 2012. We have already met the target and even exceeded it (read Singapore’s Carbon Dioxide Emissions Per Capita and Carbon Intensity).

Singapore’s key strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is to be more energy efficient. The Sustainable Development Blueprint sets a target to reduce our energy intensity (per dollar GDP) by 20% from 2005 levels by 2020, and by 35% from 2005 levels by 2030.

To help Singapore meet the targets, the Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO) is promoting energy efficiency in the various sectors through the Energy Efficient Singapore policies and measures (read the Overview of the Energy Situation in Singapore).

Image credit: garytamin; Energy Policy Group via National Energy Policy Report.

Adopt Green IT and Green Computing Practices

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

Green IT or green computing usually refers to making the data centre and other IT system or equipment more energy efficient, and to reduce the environmental impacts associated with IT, such as recycling of computing equipment.

You can adopt the following Green IT practices on energy efficiency in your organisation’s data centre, energy efficient office equipment, energy saving tips and recycling of used electronic equipment.

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Energy Efficiency in Data Centre

Your organisation’s data centre uses a substantial amount of energy for power and cooling purposes, especially as computing demand grows in your organisation. It is possible to reduce the energy consumption by optimising the data centre’s performance, efficiency and space through power and cooling analysis, virtualization, and using energy efficient servers. Consult your IT vendor on energy saving solutions for your data centre. You can also visit the Greener Computing website for more news and tips on Green IT.

data-centreHere are some Green IT vendors:

In the Sustainable Singapore blueprint report published in April 2009, one of the new initiatives by the government is to promote energy efficiency in data centres:

Data centres, server rooms and IT equipment account for a significant amount of energy use in buildings. The government will work with the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry to develop and promote the adoption of green data centre standards that will reduce the power consumption of IT systems. These standards will take into account the ongoing international efforts in this area as well as guidelines and best practices for data centre design, setup and operations. The public sector will also adopt green data centre practices and promote awareness of green data centre benefits among data centre operators in the public sector, develop training and certification programmes for the public and private sector data centre operators, and promote R&D in energy efficient data centres.

Check with the Energy Efficiency Programme Office on the incentives available for Green IT.

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Energy Efficient Office Equipment

In Singapore, computers, printers and photocopiers are not included under the Energy Label scheme. So if you’re looking for energy efficient computing equipment, you can look for ENERGY STAR qualified equipment instead. The ENERGY STAR is a US labeling program to identify and promote energy efficient products. Find a suitable model from this wide range of ENERGY STAR products.

When buying new computers, choose laptops instead of desktops as a laptop uses less energy. If your organisation needs to buy desktops, choose those with flat panel LCD monitors instead of CRT monitors, as a LCD monitor is more energy efficient and lasts longer. Also remember to choose the right-sized monitor to meet the office’s needs. A bigger monitor uses more energy.

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Energy Saving Tips

powerbuttonRemember to switch off all the computing equipment when leaving the office or when they are not in use, and don’t leave them on standby mode as the standby mode still consumes energy. Here’s what you can do:

  • Connect different equipment to a power strip so that you only need to turn off one switch
  • Use plugin timers to switch off equipment after office hours
  • Use the power management mode on your computer to turn off the computer after some time of inactivity
  • Use the free Auto Shutdown software to schedule Windows shut down

When the computing equipment is in use, here’s what you can do to reduce energy consumption:

  • Set photocopiers, printers and other equipment on energy saving mode
  • Reduce the brightness of the computers to cut energy consumption as the factory default setting may be brighter than necessary
  • Disable the computer’s screen saver as the screen-saving mode uses more energy than in standby mode
  • Use the power management mode on your computer and enable the energy saving features
  • Use the free Edison software to optimise power settings

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Recycling

You can recycle your used electronic equipment such as computers and printers through your IT vendor who usually can take them back. If they don’t, check out this guide to electrical and electronic waste recycling at Zero Waste Singapore.

Image credit: jodax.

Use Government Fundings for Energy Audits and Energy Efficient Technologies

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

audit-checkThere are several funding and incentive schemes provided by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to help companies reduce their costs in engaging ESCOs or investing in energy saving equipment and technologies.

If companies lack the expertise to manage their energy consumption, they can engage an Energy Services Company (ESCO) to conduct an energy audit for their building or facility, identify energy saving measures and implement projects to reduce energy consumption.

The ESCOs provide a full analysis of the energy flows in and out of a facility, suggest improvements to facility design and operation, and provide financing and implementation of energy saving projects. In Singapore, the ESCOs are accredited under the Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) Accreditation Scheme by the Energy Sustainability Unit (ESU). A list of accredited ESCOs can be found at the ESU website.

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Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme (EASe)

The NEA has a co-funding scheme called the Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme (EASe), to help companies in the manufacturing and building sectors engage accredited ESCOs to conduct energy audits and recommend energy saving measures.

Funding is provided up to 50% of the qualifying costs of engaging an ESCO and capped at $200,000 for a single facility or building over a five-year period. Visit the Energy Efficient Singapore website for details on the Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme.

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Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies (GREET)

The Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies (GREET) provides funding for the Singapore-registered owner or operator of existing or proposed industrial facilities to invest in energy efficient equipment or technologies.

Funding is provided up to 50% of the qualifying costs and capped at $2 million per project. Only projects with a payback of more than 3 years and up to 7 years are eligible for funding. Visit the Energy Efficient Singapore website for details on the Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies (GREET).

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Accelerated Depreciation Tax Allowance

save-costThis tax allowance scheme encourages companies to replace old inefficient equipment and invest in energy saving equipment. The capital expenditure on the qualifying energy efficient equipment can be written off in one year instead of three. More info about the tax allowance is available here.

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Design for Efficiency Scheme (DfE)

The Design for Efficiency Scheme (DfE) aims to encourage new facilities that are large consumers of energy to integrate energy and resource efficiency improvements into their development plans early in the design stage.

Funding is provided up to 80% of the qualifying costs or $600,000, whichever is lower.

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With these funding schemes, your organisation would be able to reduce your costs in conducting energy audits and investing in energy saving equipment and technologies. Save money and energy at the same time!

Also check out the Singapore Guide to Government Funding and Incentives for the Environment.

Image credit: lusi; svilen001.