Singapore Shares Initiatives for the Energy Market at the Singapore International Energy Week 2013

October 28, 2013 by  
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Minister S Iswaran speaking at SIEW 2013

Mr S Iswran, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, shares Singapore’s initiatives for the energy market at the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2013. SIEW is an annual gathering of global energy leaders from the government, industry and international organisations to discuss energy issues, strategies and solutions. This year’s theme, New Horizons in Energy, highlights the resurgence of new oil and gas supplies, and the emergence of technologies that are shaping global energy dynamics.

Singapore is currently diversifying its energy sources through the new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal and preparing for solar energy. The LNG terminal started operations in May this year with a capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa), and the eventual plan is to expand the terminal with 4 tanks to boost its capacity to 9 Mtpa by 2016.The terminal helps to enhance energy security and allow Singapore to explore opportunities in LNG trading, break bulking and bunkering. Read more

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

October 31, 2011 by  
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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. Read more

IEA Chief Economist offers a look at our energy future

June 21, 2011 by  
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The era of cheap oil is over, and policies fall short of what is needed for a secure and sustainable energy future, says Dr Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency, in his lecture titled “A Glimpse into the Energy Fututre” at today’s EMA Distinguished Speaker Programme. This lecture is jointly organised by the Energy Market Authority and the Energy Studies Institute.

Era of cheap oil is over

Dr Birol shares that the era of cheap oil is over because of structural changes, and there is growing risk that the upturn in oil prices could undermine economic recovery.

On the demand side, strong growth from the transportation sector due to booming demand for mobility in emerging economies drives up oil use. The global car fleet continue to surge as more people in China and other emerging economies buy a car. Read more

Recommendations and Strategies by the Economic Strategies Committee

February 9, 2010 by  
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The Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) has completed its work and has submitted the report of its key recommendations to the Prime Minister. The report is released today and can be downloaded at the ESC website.

The ESC was formed in May 2009 to:

develop strategies for Singapore to build capabilities and maximise opportunities as a global city in a new world environment, so as to achieve sustained and inclusive growth.

The ESC is chaired by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Finance, and comprises members from the government, the labour movement, the private sector as well as academia.

Key Recommendations:

We must achieve higher productivity growth of 2 to 3 percent per year, enabling our GDP to grow on average by 3 to 5 percent per year over the next decade.

Increased productivity is not achieved merely through increased efficiency, but restructuring our economy to provide more room for rapidly growing and innovative enterprises.

7 Key Strategies:

  1. Growing through skills and innovation
  2. Anchor Singapore as a Global-Asia Hub
  3. Build a Vibrant and Diverse Corporate Ecosystem
  4. Make Innovation Pervasive, and Strengthen Commercialisation of R&D
  5. Become a Smart Energy Economy
  6. Enhance Land Productivity to Secure Future Growth
  7. Build a Distinctive Global City and an Endearing Home

Here’s the ESC’s recommendations on Smart Energy Economy in the report:

Become a Smart Energy Economy

As a small, resource-constrained country, we have to ensure that energy does not become a limiting barrier for Singapore’s economic competitiveness and growth. We also have to play our part in reducing carbon emissions as a responsible member of the global community. We must become a smart energy economy – resilient, sustainable, and innovative in our energy use.

The ESC recommends the following:

1. Diversify our energy sources

In the medium term, Singapore should explore coal and electricity imports to diversify both the fuel types and fuel source countries in our energy portfolio. The import of electricity is an option which can free up valuable land in Singapore. It could also allow us to tap on the significant renewable energy potential in our region, such as in the form of hydro-electricity or geothermal power.

For the long-term, we must continue supporting innovation and investing in the infrastructure necessary to develop renewable energy. We should also study the feasibility of nuclear energy, a possible option in the long-run to meet baseload electricity demand, as well as energy security and sustainability imperatives. Advances in nuclear technology will make it much safer than earlier designs, and we should carefully study its viability for a small city-state like Singapore.

2. Invest early in critical energy infrastructure

Push ahead to establish Intelligent Energy Systems (IES) as the centrepiece of a smart energy economy. The IES will promote greater competition among retailers and enable households to make informed choices on their electricity consumption. At the same time, the IES will incorporate devices such as smart meters and home automation networks to programme appliances to function during off-peak hours when electricity prices are lowest.

Make early investments in public goods such as energy infrastructure to improve national energy security and efficiency. One example is the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal which will allow Singapore to gain access to global gas markets. Investing in the extension of the gas pipeline infrastructure can also potentially reduce the cost of electricity and open up new economic clusters in Singapore.

Develop Jurong Island as an energy-optimised industrial cluster. We should harness innovative systems-level solutions, to provide integrated, low-cost and low-carbon solutions for the industry clusters on the island. For example, recycling waste heat from industry for desalinating sea water; the desalinated water would then be channelled back to industry for cooling industrial processes, forming a virtuous cycle. With government planning and infrastructure investment to enable such “exchanges”, we can significantly improve resource efficiency.

3. Increase energy efficiency

Step up measures to promote energy efficiency for buildings, industry and in homes. We should enhance incentives, education and adopt essential legislation such as mandatory energy audits which will help build energy conservation know-how and internalise energy management practices.

Support low-carbon solutions in transportation. We should continue the shift of commuter load to public transport and support the introduction of clean and efficient technologies for public buses. This will ensure that energy-efficient public transport can be realised without higher prices for commuters. We should set the appropriate incentives for the adoption of clean vehicle technologies for private vehicles by awarding the Green Vehicle Rebate (GVR) based on fuel efficiency or carbon emissions of the vehicle.

4. Price energy to reflect real costs and constraints

Price energy to reflect its total cost, taking into account various externalities and constraints, such as energy security and environmental sustainability. Appropriate price signals could both promote the use of, as well as encourage investments in energy-efficient and low-carbon solutions.

The Government should study how best to implement a carbon pricing scheme in anticipation of future carbon constraints, should there be a global agreement on climate change. It can also insure us against future spikes in energy prices. This should be carefully calibrated and introduced gradually, with offsets for specific groups like low income households to buffer the transition.

Source: Economic Strategies Committee Main Report; ESC Press Release Annex A

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.