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Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at Energy Innovation 2021

Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at Energy Innovation 2021

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

1. Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to join you today at the Energy Market Authority’s (EMA) Energy Innovation 2021. This event brings together the energy industry, research community and educators to exchange knowledge and views on emerging energy trends and technologies.

 

2. This year’s theme of “Enabling Sustainable Energy Transformation” is a timely one. The government recently unveiled the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and the steps to achieve it. We have a roadmap for transforming Singapore’s energy landscape in the next decade. By leveraging new technologies and innovations, we can build a more sustainable Singapore.  I am delighted that EMA has brought together different stakeholders and industry leaders to share about decarbonisation and grid digitalisation technologies today.  I trust this event will sow the seeds for new partnerships and spark many fruitful collaborations for our energy sector in the future.

 

Singapore’s Energy Transformation

 

3. The United Nations has identified climate change as a global emergency. Changing weather patterns are affecting food production and rising sea levels are causing severe floods. The floods in Germany, wildfires in Australia and America are tell-tale signs of the impact of climate change. Closer home, we are experiencing higher temperatures and shifts in weather patterns in Singapore.

 

4. The Green Plan forms a key thrust of our national efforts to fight climate change.

 

5. A key pillar of this plan seeks to reset how we use energy – from individuals to organisations, and from the community to the energy industry. Decarbonising the power sector, which contributes about 40% of Singapore’s carbon emissions, will be crucial to the success of any energy reset efforts. To enable this transformation, the Government has put in place initiatives to improve energy efficiency and promote decarbonisation through the use of solar energy, electricity imports, and low-carbon alternatives.

 

6. Solar power is the most promising renewable energy source for Singapore. To date, we have deployed over 440 megawatt-peak (MWp) of solar energy across Singapore and we aim to quadruple deployments to 1.5 gigawatt-peak (GWp) by 2025, and at least 2 GWp by 2030. This will be enough to meet the yearly electricity needs for 350,000 households.

 

7. However, Singapore’s land constraints could limit the scale of our solar deployment. So, we have begun to work creatively around the constraints. This includes deploying solar panels on vacant state land, integrating them into building facades, and even floating them across reservoirs. Last week, the Prime Minister opened the world’s largest floating Photovoltaic (PV) deployment in Tengeh Reservoir. At 45 hectares, this solar farm occupies the size of 45 football fields, and has a capacity of 60 megawatt-peak (MWp).

 

8. While we are making progress in solar energy, our domestic solar generation will not be enough to meet all our energy needs. We expect energy usage to increase, given the rising demand for energy from data centres, 5G networks and electric vehicles. Hence, we have to go beyond our borders to tap on renewable energy sources from regional power grids.

 

9. Last year, Singapore announced a trial to import 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity from peninsular Malaysia for two years. We are also partnering our regional counterparts in the Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS PIP) to initiate another 100MW trial of cross-border power trade. These initiatives will deepen our knowledge in the use of larger scale clean energy imports from the region.

 

10. Apart from imports, emerging low-carbon technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage are also important enablers for Singapore to reduce our carbon emissions. The Government has set aside $49 million to support research in these low-carbon technologies. I am heartened to note that the first research grant call has received numerous applications from researchers and industry alike.

 

11. Besides introducing new technologies to the energy sector, we will need to future-proof our grid to ensure that it remains resilient and reliable. EMA has been working with industry players and universities to develop next generation grid technologies. It has partnered Sembcorp Industries and NTU (Nanyang Technological University) to develop Singapore’s first Virtual Power Plant. Acting like a single utility-scale power station, the virtual power plant will intelligently optimise electricity produced from multiple distributed energy resources across the island.  The project team will be deploying rooftop solar PV, energy storage systems and electric vehicle chargers at residential as well as industrial locations, and these technologies will be coordinated by the Virtual Power Plant when it is developed in 2022.

 

Importance of Engaging Different Stakeholders

 

12. To achieve the kind of transformation we envision for Singapore’s energy reset and the Singapore Green Plan, we need a ‘whole of nation’ effort involving all stakeholders – from the industry’s big boys, SMEs and start-ups, to researchers, the community at large, and our youths.

 

13. Start-ups are a vital component of our energy ecosystem with their fresh ideas and innovative solutions. I am delighted that earlier this week, EMA and Shell Singapore have renewed a $4 million partnership to nurture our local energy start-ups. Not only will this extended partnership provide start-ups the opportunity to develop and test-bed their energy solutions with funding from EMA, it will also let them tap on Shell’s global resources and network to develop capabilities and expand their market reach. Some of these start-ups will be sharing their solutions with us today. I look forward to their presentations and hope more such start-ups will evolve and contribute to Singapore’s energy future.

 

Award of the Singapore Energy Grand Challenge (Industry and Research Community)

 

14. Apart from supporting start-ups and businesses, the government encourages collaboration between the industry and research community to develop new solutions that tackle issues of sustainability. For example, last September, EMA introduced the Singapore Energy Grand Challenge to promote the co-creation of innovative energy efficiency solutions.

 

15. I am happy to announce that from this challenge, EMA has awarded two teams - one from NTU (Nanyang Technological University) and another from NUS (National University of Singapore), a grant to develop and prototype their solutions. These solutions were chosen for their originality and potential to be scaled up to achieve energy savings at a sectoral level.

 

a. The NTU team aims to develop a solution that employs sound waves to gather particles in the exhaust of waste-to-energy plants. This will make it easier to remove unwanted pollutants, which in turn reduces the energy consumed. If successful, this solution could achieve energy savings of 10-15% and result in cleaner air for everyone.

 

b. The NUS team is devising a novel absorbent that efficiently removes moisture from the air, which then reduces the energy consumed by air-conditioning. If successful, this project will reduce the energy used by air-conditioning by 30-40% and offer cost savings to building owners.

 

I wish both teams all the very best and we look forward to positive results from their solutions.

 

Signing of Research Collaboration Agreement on the Green Compass Initiative

 

16. To help companies on their sustainability initiatives, I am pleased to note that earlier today, A*STAR’s (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) SIMTech (Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology), JTC and German company TÜV SÜD  have signed a Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA) on the Green Compass initiative.

 

17. This initiative seeks to develop a tool for businesses to assess the environmental sustainability of their operations. It highlights and prioritises areas of improvement with the biggest financial and strategic impact. Enterprise Singapore will support the Green Compass initiative through industry engagement efforts to create and raise awareness, as well as to seek feedback on how this new tool can benefit enterprises. I encourage all companies to look out for the launch of the Green Compass and use it to navigate towards greater sustainability. Sustainability is not just a good to have, but can be turned into a competitive advantage and have strategic impact.

 

Award of the Singapore Energy Grand Challenge (Youth)

 

18. As I have said earlier, we need a “whole-of-nation” effort to achieve our Singapore Green Plan.  Whether we succeed in our green goals will also depend on our young generation who will determine the future.

 

19. To involve our youths in our “energy reset”, EMA launched the second edition of the Singapore Energy Grand Challenge (Youth) in March this year. The youths were invited to brainstorm ideas and share their vision of a carbon-free Singapore. Using Microsoft’s Minecraft: Education Edition, the students had a free hand to design carbon-free schools and neighbourhoods.  EMA received a total of 87 entries full of fresh and interesting ideas. Some youths imagined the use of carbon-free Maglev trains for public transport, while some wanted to tap on microbial fuel cells to generate electricity.

 

20. I would like to congratulate the winning teams of the Energy Grand Challenge – the 3R Girls Team from the Junior Category and Team Electrae from the Senior Category. I hope you will continue to play an active role in shaping Singapore’s energy future.  In addition, I would also like to acknowledge the teachers who have played an important role in educating and broadening their students’ awareness and understanding of sustainability issues.

 

Conclusion

 

21. To build a more sustainable Singapore, let us continue to think of new ways to make our homes, businesses and environment cleaner and greener. With youthful innovations and a growing passion to tackle climate change, we can look forward to our next generation actively fostering a brighter and more sustainable future for Singapore.

 

22. Thank you very much.

 

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