Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry with the new plans for increased reliance on low-carbon hydrogen fuel to address our power needs (a) what sources will the hydrogen come from; (b) how will the Government prepare our infrastructure to transport and store hydrogen; (c) whether the potential increase in spending on infrastructure will lead to significant cost increases for consumers; and (d) how will the Government work with regional countries to encourage the take-up and production rate of hydrogen for energy use.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling)
1. Global developments surrounding low-carbon hydrogen have accelerated significantly in recent years. A growing pipeline of production projects from around the world are being announced. Key technologies that enable the transportation and use of hydrogen in various carrier forms, such as ammonia, are also expected to become commercially ready in the coming years.
2. Given the strong momentum, low-carbon hydrogen is showing increasing potential to be a broad-based decarbonisation pathway for Singapore, especially for our power sector. Nevertheless, there still remain uncertainties in its technological and supply chain development, and we will take a phased approach towards its adoption, including pacing significant investments in public infrastructure accordingly.
3. Our immediate priority is to start gaining experience in the importing, storage, distribution and handling of hydrogen through small-scale pathfinder projects. These will help our industry, workers and the Government build up capabilities to design infrastructure in a way that is safe, land-efficient, and scalable. The projects will also allow us to co-create solutions with the industry and develop rules and regulations to enable hydrogen supply chains in Singapore.
4. To enable widespread deployment of hydrogen in Singapore, new infrastructure, or the retrofitting of existing infrastructure, will be required. Such infrastructure will likely include import terminals that can unload hydrogen, large storage facilities, and a distribution network to get the hydrogen to its end-use sites.
5. In developing the long-term infrastructure development roadmap, we will need to strike a careful balance between the pace of rollout to enable decarbonisation, and cost. To that end, we will take into consideration a range of factors, including the pace of technological and supply chain development of low-carbon hydrogen and the relative attractiveness of hydrogen vis-à-vis other low-carbon alternatives. We will also identify synergies for hydrogen adoption across different sectors and applications, to create greater economies of scale and derive savings.
6. Besides domestic infrastructure, we also need to establish regional and global low-carbon hydrogen supply chains, so that we can import the hydrogen we need. Singapore adopts a diversified portfolio in importing energy to ensure security and resilience, and we will take the same approach for hydrogen. Where we import from and in what quantities will depend on factors such as the availability of exports, costs, and the need for diversification in sources.
7. We are working closely with our international partners to enable these supply chains. Singapore has signed several Memoranda-of-Understanding (MOUs) with countries that have made significant strides in their hydrogen efforts. Together, we will collaborate on areas such as advancing interoperable and mutually-recognised guarantees of origin certifications for low-carbon hydrogen, facilitating the physical movement of hydrogen across borders, and joint research and development efforts to overcome technological challenges.