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 Carbon Dioxide Emissions Per Capita and Carbon Intensity

May 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

singapore-in-blackIs Singapore carbon intensive and a big contributor of carbon dioxide per capita in the world? How do we compare with other developed countries? Let’s take a look at Singapore’s total carbon dioxide emissions, carbon dioxide emissions per capita, and carbon intensity.

1. Carbon Dioxide Emissions

According to the National Climate Change Strategy, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Singapore are generated from the following sectors (in 2005):

singapore-carbon-emissions

Singapore’s total absolute CO2 emissions and CO2 emissions per capita from 1990 to 2007 is shown in the graph below, based on statistics from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the National Climate Change Strategy and the Singapore Department of Statistics.

carbon-emissions-in-singapore

Singapore’s CO2 emissions is 39.9 Mt in 2007, which accounts for less than 0.2% of global CO2 emissions. The graph shows that Singapore’s CO2 emissions has increased about 83% from 1990 to 2007 but has remained relatively constant over the past 4 years. The CO2 emissions per capita has also reached a peak in 2004 and declined slowly. This is likely due to the switch to cleaner natural gas for power generation and other energy efficiency measures by the government.

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2. Carbon Intensity

Carbon intensity is usually measured in terms of the CO2 emissions per dollar GDP at 2000 prices. A low carbon intensity means that the country is able to produce each unit of output with less CO2 emissions.

The graph below shows Singapore’s carbon intensity from 1990 to 2007, based on statistics from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the National Climate Change Strategy and the Singapore Department of Statistics.

carbon-intensity-in-singapore

Singapore’s carbon intensity is 0.17 kgCO2/2000S$ in 2007 and has dropped by about 39% from 1990 to 2007, likely due to the switch to cleaner natural gas for power generation and other energy efficiency measures. Under the Singapore Green Plan 2012, a target has been set to improve our carbon intensity by 25% from 1990 level by 2012. We have already met the target and even exceeded it.

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3. Discrepancy Between Carbon Statistics

There is some dispute on whether Singapore is carbon intensive and a big contributor of CO2 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 CO2 emissions 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 CO2 emissions per capita for Singapore is much higher than the US, other developed countries and the world average. If the IEA data is used, the CO2 emissions per capita for Singapore is lower than other developed countries such as the US, Australia and Finland.

co2-per-capita

The graph below shows the carbon 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 carbon intensity for Singapore is higher than the US, other developed countries and the world average. If the IEA data is used, the carbon intensity for Singapore is lower than the world average and other developed countries such as the US, Australia and Finland.

carbon-intensity

The discrepancy between the EIA and IEA statistics is due to the different calculation of energy consumption. The energy consumption based on the EIA is higher as it includes marine bunkers in its calculation and as Singapore is the largest marine bunkering centre in the world, our energy consumption is thus overestimated, which in turn leads to higher CO2 emissions and carbon intensity for Singapore. On the other hand, IEA excludes marine bunkers from its calculation of energy consumption. Read the Overview of the Energy Situation in Singapore for more discussion on the discrepancy.

Image credit: mjamesno; Key CO2 Contributors (2005) via National Climate Change Strategy.

Singapore’s National Policies on Energy and Climate Change

May 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

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.