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Public Consultation on Energy (Resilience Measures and Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill

Public Consultation on Energy (Resilience Measures and Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill

Closing on 20 SEP 2021

Update: The consultation period for the Public Consultation on the Energy (Resilience Measures and Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill has been extended to 20 September 2021.

 

Introduction

 

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (“MTI”) and the Energy Market Authority (“EMA”) are seeking public feedback on the Energy (Resilience Measures and Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill. The public consultation period is from 27 August to 16 September 2021.

 

Background

 

1.         Singapore has made strong commitments to reduce carbon emissions as part of our enhanced 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution and Long-term Low-emissions Development Strategy. MTI/EMA are embarking on a multi-decade programme to transition our electricity generation to low-carbon generation sources through the four supply “switches”:

 

a.      First, by enhancing the energy efficiency of natural gas power plants;

 

b.      Second, by accelerating solar deployment;

 

c.      Third, by tapping on regional power grids for low-carbon electricity imports; and

 

d.      Fourth, by developing low-carbon solutions such as hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage solutions which will enable decarbonisation in the longer-term.

 

2.         At the same time, almost all the existing natural-gas fuelled power plants will be retiring over the next 1 to 2 decades, as they reach their end-of-life. EMA will need to manage several aspects of the energy transition, while maintaining energy reliability and affordability.

 

3.         The Energy (Resilience Measures and Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill sets out proposed amendments to the Energy Market Authority of Singapore Act, Electricity Act and Gas Act, to enable EMA to implement this energy transition, while ensuring the sustainability, security, and reliability of the power sector. The key amendments are explained below.

 

Key Amendments

 

Enhance Energy and Carbon Efficiency of Electricity Generation

 

4.         Amendment to enable EMA to implement measures (e.g. policies, standards) to require electricity generation licensees to reduce greenhouse gas emission standards. Natural gas power plants provide more than 95% of Singapore’s electricity demand today, and will continue to be needed for medium term, before low-carbon alternatives such as hydrogen become viable. The proposed amendment to the Electricity Act will enable EMA to promote the use of energy and carbon-efficient technologies through the setting of greenhouse gas emissions standards. It will complement EMA’s existing incentive schemes such as the Energy Efficiency Grant for Power Generation Companies[1] to encourage power generation companies to improve the energy efficiency of their existing units, and shift towards cleaner and more efficient modes of power generation.

 

Safeguard Energy Security and Reliability

 

5.         Amendments to enable EMA to acquire, build, own and/or operate critical infrastructure. The COVID-19 pandemic and transition to cleaner energy sources (e.g. solar, electricity imports) have dampened investors’ appetite for the building of new generation capacity. To ensure sufficient and reliable electricity supply during the energy transition, the proposed amendment to the EMA Act and Electricity Act will empower EMA to build, acquire, own, and operate critical power sector infrastructure if the private market fails to do so.  

 

6.         Amendment to enable EMA to raise capital or issue bonds for infrastructure. EMA will need capital to finance the construction of these critical infrastructure when necessary. The proposed amendment to the EMA Act will allow EMA to raise capital by issuing bonds to complement EMA’s existing ability to raise capital through commercial or Government loans.

 

Other Amendments

 

7.         Amendments to enhance the protection of critical electricity and gas infrastructure. The proposed amendment to the Electricity and Gas Acts will allow EMA to enhance the protection of critical electricity and gas transmission infrastructure and safeguard the security and reliability of electricity and gas supply. The proposed amendments will make it an offence for any person to damage protective infrastructure housing cables/pipelines (e.g. cable tunnels). This will enhance current regulatory powers which only penalise offenders who damage the actual cables/pipelines.

 

8.         Amendment to clarify the ability to draw down on electricity retailers’ deposits to offset outstanding settlement payments to protect consumers’ interests. Electricity retailers are required to place deposits with the Energy Market Company (EMC), SP Services Ltd, and SP Power Assets Ltd to offset outstanding settlement payments for purchases from the wholesale electricity market, market support services and grid charges. These protect consumer interests by reducing the amount of default costs borne by consumers in insolvency situations. The proposed amendment to the Electricity Act clarifies that EMA and its appointed licensees (i.e. EMC, SP Services Ltd and SP PowerAssets Ltd) can draw down on deposits placed with them, notwithstanding the provisions of the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018.

 

9.         Amendment to streamline the granting and extension of electricity and gas licences. Minister currently approves all applications to grant and extend licences. The proposed amendment will empower EMA to do so instead.

 

10.      Amendment to clarify that “responsible persons” are required to ensure that gas installations are inspected at stipulated time intervals and properly maintained, under the Gas Act. The proposed amendment to the Gas Act will safeguard public safety, by imposing an obligation on ‘responsible persons’ to ensure that inspections, in addition to the required maintenance, repair and renewal works, are carried out.

 

11.      Amendments to update the definition of “market support services”. The proposed amendments to the Electricity Act clarifies that the market support services licensee can carry out inspections of electricity installations in premises to ensure public safety.

 

Request for Comments and Feedback

 

12.       MTI and EMA invite parties to provide their views and comments on the draft Energy (Resilience Measures and Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2021 as set out in Appendix 1 by 16 September 2021. Electronic submission is encouraged. Please use the template in Appendix 2 for your submission and send it to mti_feedback@mti.gov.sg.

 

13.      Please note that the draft amendments are released only for the purpose of consultation and does not represent the final legislation. All comments received during the consultation exercise will be reviewed thoroughly and, if accepted, will be incorporated into the Bill for introduction in Parliament.

 

~End~

 

 

Appendix 1 Draft of the Energy (Resilience Measures and Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill

 

Appendix 2 Format for Submission of Comments and Feedback



[1] The Genco Energy Efficiency Grant encourages gencos to invest in energy-efficient equipment and technologies through the provision of grants. The first and second Grant Calls were launched in April 2019 and January 2021 respectively.

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