Oral reply to PQ on energy and electricity

Oral reply to PQ on energy and electricity


Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what percentage of electricity in Singapore today is from renewables; and (b) how does the investments by local utility companies in overseas renewable projects help Singapore to offset our carbon footprint.

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what domestic energy generation options the Ministry had considered prior to proposing the import of electricity from regional countries; (b) whether the Ministry plans to (i) set a cap on the proportion of imported energy as part of our overall energy supply and (ii) set a cap on the amount that individual countries can export energy to Singapore, in order to limit the risk to Singapore's energy security; and (c) what other steps the Ministry will be taking to ensure Singapore's energy security when the trial is expanded.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) whether Singapore will be participating in the Sun Cable project; (b) if so, how much of Singapore's energy supply will come from the Sun Cable project; (c) what efforts are in place to diversify our energy sources; and (d) what are the associated risks and cost fluctuations of energy diversification.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how have post-COVID-19 needs impacted Singapore's energy market outlook; (b) whether Singapore's plan to import electricity from Malaysia is limited to renewable energy; (c) what is the process for the energy to be sold to Singapore; and (d) how can energy supply reliability be assured as more clean electricity from other countries are imported into Singapore.

Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what is the current fuel mix for electricity generation derived from renewable energy sources; (b) how has this changed over the last 10 years; and (c) what is the target mix for the amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in 2030 and 2050.

Oral Answer (to be attributed to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, and Second Minister for Manpower and Trade & Industry, Dr Tan See Leng)

1.      Mr Speaker, electricity demand is expected to have declined by around 2% to 4% in 2020 amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, electricity demand will rebound as the economy recovers and grows, driven by new users such as data centres, 5G telecommunication networks, agri-tech facilities and electric vehicles.

2.     We will harness the four switches to transform and diversify our energy supply, so as to achieve our vision of a clean and efficient energy future. These four switches comprise natural gas, solar energy, regional power grids, and emerging low-carbon alternatives like hydrogen.

3.     Singapore has progressively transitioned from oil-powered power plants since the early 2000s to adopt natural gas, which is the cleanest burning fuel. Natural gas currently accounts for 95% of the electricity produced in Singapore. Singapore lacks alternative energy sources. We do not have the natural resources, land area and climatic conditions necessary for the large-scale deployment of renewable energy sources such as hydro and wind. Natural gas will continue to be the main source of energy for power generation to serve our households and industry reliably in the medium term, as we develop the other three switches.

4.     Our second switch, solar energy, is the most viable source of renewable energy within Singapore. Over the last 10 years, installed solar capacity has increased more than a 100 fold, from 3.8 megawatt peak in 2010, to around 400 megawatt-peak last year in mid-2020. We are accelerating our efforts and will almost quadruple our solar capacity to 1.5 gigawatt-peak by 2025, and to 2 gigawatt-peak by 2030. By 2030, we expect our second switch to supply around 3% of our total electricity consumption. Depending on the state of technology and cost, we hope to be able to do more.

5.      Local companies partner the Government in the deployment of solar photovoltaic systems. For example, the Sunseap Group is a major participant in the SolarNova programme, which deploys solar panels in public sector buildings and spaces. When these companies invest in overseas renewable companies and projects , they can bring valuable insights and capabilities back home here in Singapore. These projects may some day export electricity to Singapore too. This brings me to the third switch.

6.     Regional power grids, or electricity imports, is our third switch. Today, some Southeast Asian countries have an abundance of hydropower and other renewable energies. If we can connect the regional grid well, it will provide greater resilience and sustainability for the entire system. For a start, we are trialling imports of up to 100 megawatts from Peninsular Malaysia. 100 megawatts is around 1.5% of our peak electricity demand, so there will be minimal impact on the reliability and cost of our electricity supply. Our preference is to import electricity from renewable energy sources. Hence, the “cleanliness” of the generation source will be a consideration in selecting the importer. The Energy Market Authority, or EMA, will select the importer through an open and competitive selection process, and it is expected to sell electricity via the Singapore Wholesale Electricity Market to interested buyers.

7.     Other companies like Sun Cable have also approached EMA to import electricity to Singapore. We welcome these interests, but we have to pace these imports to ensure that they do not undermine the reliability of our electricity supply and the stability of our electricity market. Discussions on Sun Cable’s proposal to supply solar power from Australia’s Northern Territory to Singapore are ongoing. At this particular point in time, EMA is unable to share details at this point, given the commercial sensitivities.

8.      Lastly, for our fourth switch, we are working with the industry and research community to study emerging low-carbon technologies, such as hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage. We will facilitate the development of these technologies through various research, development and demonstration funding initiatives, including a Low-Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative. This funding initiative will see around S$50 million being used to explore areas such as the supply, storage and downstream uses of hydrogen, as well as carbon capture and storage for use in building materials or fuels.

9.     By tapping on all four switches, Singapore will be able to diversify our energy sources. This will enhance our access to secure and competitively priced energy supplies, which will reduce our energy security risks. The future energy mix will depend on technological advancements in the four switches. This will need to be complemented by efforts to enhance energy efficiency across all sectors and consumers. The Government will work hand-in-hand with our workforce, researchers, industries and consumers, to achieve our vision of a cleaner, more efficient and secure energy future.

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